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News Archive

No walkover for Naoko Takahashi

"15" align="left" /> Japanese Olympic champion Naoko Takahashi is both the

superstar of and big favourite to win this year’s 29th real,-

BERLIN-MARATHON on 29 September 2002. There must be doubts, however, if she

will find it as easy as last year when she distanced the runner-up by more than

eight minutes. Whereas last year Tegla Loroupe (KEN) was unable to match

Takahashi in any de-partment, there will be a new and promising challenger this

time in Mexican runner Adriana Fernandez. Her biggest success so far was the

New York City Marathon title in 1999, the year when she also recorded her

personal best (2:24:04) in London. That time still seems a good deal behind

Takahashi’s world record set in Berlin last year, but Rodolfo Gomez, the

Mexican’s coach, is confident Adriana now runs better than ever after

having given birth to a child which is why she took a break from competitive

running.

Fernandez aims for a time of 2:20 to 2:21, which would put her in the same

league as Takahashi. And Fernandez was able to prove her excellent form when

she ran the last 10k of a recent half-marathon in Virginia Beach/USA in 32:07.

Another strong woman to watch in Berlin will be Alfenesh Alemu from Ethiopia,

with a PB of 2:24:29.


align="right" /> A well-known guest from Kenya appears to be the clear

favourite in the men’s race: Simon Biwott who surprised everyone by

winning here in 2000, has since become a great marathon star winning both Paris

and Rotterdam in the process. In the Edmonton World Championships in 2001,

though, he had to contend himself with second place after a dramatic

finish-straight showdown with Olympic champion Gezaghene Abera (ETH). Despite

his remarkable feats one feels that Simon Biwott’s personal best of

2:07:41 still leaves room for improvement.

The Kenyan’s most serious competition should come from compatriot

Moses Tanui who is among the most prominent and fast runners in marathon

history. His PB dates from 1999 when he finished second in Chicago in a

remarkable time of 2:06:16. Tanui feels most at home in the Boston marathon

where he was a two-times winner. Having kept a relatively low profile for a

couple of years he is now ready to go for glory again, as his Vienna marathon

triumph in spring indicated. Biwott versus Tanui in the 29th real,-

BERLIN-MARATHON on 29 September – one more fierce duel can be

expected.

 

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