• Kyodo


Japan’s three female marathon runners said Friday they are certain they will perform strongly in Sunday’s races after completing their buildup for the Athens Olympics through altitude training.

News photoJapan’s women marathon squad (from left, Mizuki Noguchi, Naoko Sakamoto, Reiko Tosa) is hoping to bring home a medal in the event for the fourth straight

“I think my performance this time will probably be better than last year both time-wise and tactically,” said Mizuki Noguchi, who booked her place in Athens by finishing second at the World Championships in France last year.

Noguchi spent about one month training in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

Reiko Tosa held a pre-Olympic tuneup in mountainous territory in southern China.

“I used to worry about injuries while I was training for my races in the past. But this time it’s great that I was able to reach this point with no injuries,” she said.

Naoko Sakamoto said she jogged around the 10-km mark of the course on Friday morning, adding that the weather in Athens is not as hot as she expected.

“The hardness of the road surface did not bother me, either,” said Sakamoto, who trained in the United States before moving to Vienna on Aug. 11 as part of her acclimatization.

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