Noguchi forced out of marathon
Reigning women's champion Mizuki Noguchi will not defend her title due to injury.
Last Modified: 12 Aug 2008 14:45 GMT

Mizuki Noguchi of Japan celebrates her 2004 Athens success [EPA]
Defending Olympic marathon champion Mizuki Noguchi has pulled out of the event in Beijing with a thigh injury.

The 30-year-old underwent a second MRI scan after cutting short her altitude training in Switzerland, citing muscle soreness and fatigue.


The results were not encouraging and the Japanese runner has reluctantly decided to withdraw, less than a week ahead of the race.

The news is a huge blow for Japan, where marathon running is extremely popular and draws enormous crowds.


The country has won the last two women's Olympic marathons.

This year's race, due to take place on Sunday, has been split wide open, with world record holder Paula Radcliffe also not certain to even make the start line.


The British runner has had her preparations badly set back by a stress fracture in her leg that, though now healed, has left her short of distance on the road in the build up to the games.


Radcliffe said earlier this week that she intends to run "unless my leg breaks down'' as she prepares to compete at her fourth Olympic games.

"The aim has always been to start the race," she said. "Everyday I go out and plan to start the race."


"I'm getting more and more confident because every day you run more on it and it gets stronger.''

Radcliffe dropped out of the marathon at the 2004 Athens games, but she won the world championship title in the event a year later in Helsinki, Finland.

"I feel good. I feel happier even to be at this stage,'' Radcliffe said.

"I know from the stuff that I've done that I'm in good enough shape to be on
the start line.''

"I don't know but I guess I'm probably not in 2:12 shape, but I think if you put yourself on the start line, you're in with a chance,'' Radcliffe said.

Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.