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