• Kyodo

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Little-known Tomoaki Kunichika upstaged national record holder Toshinari Takaoka to win the Fukuoka International Marathon on Sunday.

News photoTomoaki Kunichika pumps his fists as he crosses the finish line in first place at the Fukuoka International Marathon.

Kunichika crossed the finish with an official time of 2 hours, 7 minutes, 52 seconds at Heiwadai Athletic Stadium in Fukuoka and improved his selection bid for next year’s Athens Olympics.

Toshinari Suwa came second in 2:07.55, while Takaoka crossed with a time of 2:07.59, good enough for third on the 42.195-km course.

Antonio Pena of Spain placed fourth in 2:08.10, becoming the top finisher among overseas invitees, while Kenya’s Vicent Kipsos, winner of the 2002 Rome Marathon, placed eighth with a time of 2:09.42.

The Fukuoka meet, next February’s Tokyo International Marathon, and the Biwako meet in March all serve as Olympic qualifiers.

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