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SHIBUI SEEKS WORLD CHAMPS QUALIFIER

She wants to go to the World Championchips

2004-09-27

Yoko Shibui’s next marathon after victory in the real,- BERLIN-MARATHON race on Sunday will be a qualifier for the World Championships in Helsinki next summer. Shibui, 25, who became the fourth fastest woman in history with her national and course record of 2hr 19min 41sec in Berlin went for an hour’s “easy run” on Monday morning, 24 hours after the victory, which earned her €60,000.

She later said, “I intend to run one of the three Japanese qualifying races for Helsinki. I definitely want to go to the World Championships”. The three women-only races – Tokyo in November, Osaka in January, and Nagoya in March – will be the most hotly contested qualifiers in a world of women’s marathoning dominated by Japanese. The first national home in each race will be guaranteed selection, as long as she runs sub-2hr 26mins.

Tokyo in less than two months is probably out of the question for Shibui, and she said that Osaka – where she finished ninth this year, thus failing to gain selection for Athens – is “maybe bad luck for me”. That suggests Nagoya. Shibui has a little more latitude this year. There are only three nominees for the Olympic Games, where her colleagues, Naoko Takahashi and Mizuki Noguchi won in Sydney and Athens. But in the IAAF World Championships in Helsinki in August, the team race will call for five runners in each national team.


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