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Olympic champion Naoko Takahashi’s hopes of competing in the Tokyo International Women’s Marathon in November were given a boost Friday when she was given the green light to resume training.

Takahashi has been out of action since last autumn after she suffered a stress fracture in her rib cage and was forced to make a late withdrawal from last year’s Tokyo race.

“The doctor told me that the rib has not completely healed yet but said it was OK for me to start running again,” Takahashi said in a statement released by her management company.

“I’ve had a four-month blank so I’m delighted to be able to start training again. But I don’t want to rush things and I’ll be taking it easy to start off with,” added the diminutive 30-year-old from Chiba.

The Tokyo International Women’s marathon doubles up as an Olympic trial for the Japanese team.

Takahashi became the first-ever Japanese woman to win an Olympic gold in an athletics event with her victory in Sydney in 2000 and is hoping to defend her title in Athens next year.

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