News Archive

News Archive


Japans first female Olympic marathon champion - with her two hours, 23 minutes,

14 seconds victory in Syndey last year - Takahashi also became the first

athlete to take advantage of a relaxation in rules governing sports advertising

in Japan, and signed up to become a comic book hero. For the last four months,

the 29 year old Takahashi has been the subject of a comic strip entitled

Kazekko, or Daughter of the Wind, in a magazine which sells 700,000 copies a

week. There is however, a minor problem. In the edition on sale today

(Thursday), there is a frame with her passing through the Brandenburg Gate, and

winning in a worlds best time. "Its a bit embarassing," she said at

yesterdays press conference. "I hope for a world best, but there are so

many factors involved, Ill just say I want to do two hours something, but I won

say what". It will not be for want of preparation if she does not break

Tegla Loroupes time of 2.20.43, set on this same course two years ago. Despite

becoming an overnight sensation in celebrity-obsessed Japan, she has not let

that get in the way of her training. She has spent several months at altitude

in Colorado, as she did before her Sydney victory. She has not raced a marathon

since the Olympics, and she and her coach, Yoshio Koide travelled to Berlin to

examine the course before deciding between the German capital and next weeks

Chicago race which has a similarly easy course. "The other marathons Ive

run have either been in hot conditions or on difficult courses," said

Takahashi, "this is flat, and the fact that Loroupe set the world best

means its fast. Also, having won the Olympics, I don feel under so much

pressure. That was last years goal, Berlin is this years". Of course,

Loroupe, who arrives tomorrow (Friday) may have other ideas.

Pat Butcher