Yuka Ando, who clocked Japan’s fourth-best time in her debut race on Sunday, was named among six marathon runners by the Japan Association of Athletics Federations on Friday to compete at this summer’s IAAF World Athletics Championships in London.
The 23-year-old, one of the three female runners selected, logged 2 hours, 21 minutes, 36 seconds at the Nagoya Women’s Marathon for a runner-up finish, setting a record for the fastest time by a first-time Japanese female runner in the process.
“I will be carrying the nation on my back unlike before. I feel responsible,” she said. “I mustn’t be satisfied with the record and will keep giving my best setting much higher targets.”
Risa Shigetomo, 29, claimed the Osaka Women’s Marathon in January and will be making her second straight appearance at the worlds, while 23-year-old Mao Kiyota secured her first worlds berth after placing in third in Nagoya.
Shigetomo finished in 79th place at the 2012 London Olympics and promised to deliver this time after overcoming a slump triggered by injuries.
“I have a sense of fate about running in the same place. I want to have a good race given the frustration I had (here),” she said. “I kept training, remaining patient and it paid off. I’d like to enjoy it more than before as it is some opportunity.”
Yuki Kawauchi, who placed third at the Fukuoka International Marathon in December, will head to the worlds for the third time as one of Japan’s three male runners.
“I’ve psyched myself up to come away with a good result this time,” said the 30-year-old, who finished 17th in 2011 and 18th in 2013 at the worlds. “I’ll do all I can to win a medal.”
Kentaro Nakamoto, 34, who finished sixth at the 2012 Games and won the Beppu-Oita Marathon last month, is relishing the chance to return to London.
“I’m really honored. I feel I (and London) go well together and will be well prepared,” said Nakamoto, who was fifth at the 2013 worlds and will also be making his third appearance at the tournament.
Hiroto Inoue, a 24-year-old who was the top national finisher (eighth) at the Tokyo Marathon, was selected for the first time.