Naoko Takahashi, who won the 2000 Sydney Olympic women’s marathon, complained on Friday about the selection process for the nation’s marathon team to this year’s IAAF World Athletics Championships.
“When the only explanation we get is that strong runners have been chosen, you can’t understand,” said Takahashi, a director of the Japan Association of Athletics Federations. “With the focus on the selection for next year’s Olympics, we need an announcement that will satisfy those who are left out. Transparency is essential.”
The three women named to Japan’s team to August’s worlds in Beijing excluded Yokohama International Women’s Marathon champion Tomomi Tanaka, but included Risa Shigetomo, who finished third in the Osaka Women’s Marathon.
“Personally, I think Tanaka was a step ahead,” Takahashi said. “Shigetomo must feel very awkward as well. Regardless of whether an athlete wins or loses, we must do what we can to help them stay positive.”
Takahashi herself felt the sting of not being selected for the 2004 Athens Games after she blew her lead at that season’s Tokyo Marathon and finished second.