• Kyodo

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Sydney Olympic champion Naoko Takahashi finished fourth at the Rock’n’Roll Half Marathon on Sunday in her return to a competitive road race and a warmup for her full-fledged marathon comeback.

Takahashi, making her first official race appearance since her shock marathon defeat in Tokyo two years ago, failed to keep up with the pace of the leaders in the late stages and clocked 1 hour, 10 minutes, 30 seconds.

Ethiopia’s Werknesh Kidane won with a time of 1:09:48 and Japan’s Ikuko Nagao placed third in 1:10:13.

“I struggled to contain my emotions when I was standing at the start line,” Takahashi said after the race. “I feel happy that I was able to run again with people on the streets cheering me on.”

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