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Yoko Shibui wins the 31st real,- BERLIN-MARATHON of the women

Shibui sped through the Brandenburg Gate with just 200 metres to run to the finish line, an over-zealous official tried to direct her to the channel that separated the women from the men finishers

2004-09-26

Yoko Shibui was philosophical about the incident which may have cost her an Asian record in the real,-Berlin Marathon Sunday morning.

As she sped through the Brandenburg Gate with just 200 metres to run to the finish line, an over-zealous official tried to direct her to the channel that separated the women from the men finishers.. In doing so, he managed to stand right in her path, so she had to stop and go around him, causing her to lose momentum. She finished in 2hr 19min 41sec, just two seconds outside the Asian record that Sun Yingjie of China ran in Beijing almost a year ago.

“I think it did cost me some time,” said Shibui after the race, “but I’m not going to dwell on that. I’m just happy I won and broke Takahashi’s national record”.

It was in Berlin three years ago that Takahashi, the Sydney Olympic champion became the first woman under 2hr 20min, with her 2.19.46. Since then, first Catherine Ndereba of Kenya, then Britain’s Paula Radcliffe (twice) have taken the world record down to 2.15.25.

Radcliffe dropped out of the Olympic marathon in Athens five weeks ago, but Ndereba was a close second to another Japanese winner, Mizuki Noguchi.

It was a superb return to form for Shibui, who has spent two years overcoming injuries in the wake of her third behind Radcliffe’s first world record in Chicago 2002. “It has not been a good time,” said Shibui, “I even thought about giving up running. But I’m glad now that I didn’t”.

And to ensure that she didn’t relent on Sunday morning, her coach Hideo Suzuki scrawled a message on the water-bottle she picked up at half-way. It read, “Don’t Give Up”.

Pat Butcher


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