JAKARTA – Keiko Nogami won Japan’s second straight silver in women’s marathon at the Asian Games on Sunday.
Kenyan-born Bahraini Rose Chelimo built up a sizeable lead halfway into the race and was uncatchable on her way to the gold medal. The world champion even conserved energy for a sprint finish to produce a winning time of 2 hours, 34 minutes and 51 seconds.
A day after Hiroto Inoue won Japan’s first gold in 32 years in the men’s marathon, Nogami stayed clear in the second pack from the 25-km mark, with the race for second eventually turning into a two-woman competition between her and North Korea’s Kim Hye Song.
Nogami pulled away from Kim around the 40-km mark and never looked back as she entered Gelora Bung Karno Stadium and crossed through the tape 1 minute, 36 seconds behind Chelimo.
“I had been aiming for a medal so I’m relieved I achieved my goal,” the 32-year-old Nogami said.
“I needed to win a medal so I didn’t give up until the very end. It’s a silver medal so there’s still room for improvement. I hope to use this as a springboard to prepare for my next race,” she said.
Kim finished third in 2:37:20.
Ryoko Kizaki won the silver in the women’s race at the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, in 2014. Naoko Takahashi is the last Japanese woman to win gold in the marathon at an Asian Games, doing so in 1998 in Bangkok.
Also for Japan, Hanae Tanaka finished ninth in 2:42:35. Tanaka, who started her marathon career last year, blamed a lack of preparation for her poor race time, saying she was only named to the national team in March and failed to arrive in Jakarta in top form.
“It was the first time I wore a Japan uniform in a senior international race. I feel bad for those who supported me. I wanted to do better ,” Tanaka said.