• Kyodo

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Japan’s runners for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathon will be chosen through a two-year qualifying process called the Grand Champion Series starting this summer, the Japan Association of Athletics Federations decided at Tuesday’s extraordinary board meeting.

The series of races will run until the spring of 2019, the JAAF said. The runners with the best times and places will head to the series finale, the Grand Champion Race, to be held sometime after September 2019.

The top two men and women each in the Grand Champion Race will qualify automatically for the Tokyo Olympic marathon. The current plan is to hold the Grand Champion Race on the same course as the Olympic marathon, the JAAF said.

Runners who finish in the top eight at this summer’s IAAF Wworld Athletics Championships in London or medal at next year’s Asian Games will also be eligible to run in the Grand Champion Race.

“Two qualify automatically so the selection process is crystal clear,” JAAF general secretary Mitsugi Ogata said.

The remaining berth will be awarded to the runner with the fastest time from three races held between the fall of 2019 and spring of 2020 called the Grand Champion Final Challenge.

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