Takahashi gets marathon invitation

Kyodo News

Defending champion Naoko Takahashi was named among 13 invitees to take part in the upcoming Tokyo International Women’s Marathon, organizers said Wednesday.

Athens Olympian Reiko Tosa will also run in the Nov. 19 race, which doubles up as a qualifier for Japanese runners for next summer’s IAAF World Championships in Osaka, while last year’s runnerup Zivile Balciunaite of Lithuania was named among five foreign invitees.

Sydney Olympic champion Takahashi overcame a career-threatening injury to win last year’s race ahead of Balciunaite and Ethiopian Elfenesh Alemu in a dramatic comeback to a full marathon.

The victory was sweet revenge for Takahashi, whose shock defeat at the hands of Alemu in the same Tokyo race in 2003 cost her an opportunity to defend her Olympic title in Athens.