Top Japanese sprinter Chisato Fukushima announces retirement

Jiji Press
Chisato Fukushima

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Top Japanese track and field sprinter Chisato Fukushima, the Japanese record holder for the women’s 100 meters and 200 meters, announced on Saturday a decision to retire from competition.

Fukushima, 33, competed in three Olympics—the 2008 Beijing Games, the 2012 London Games and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. But she failed to qualify for last year’s Tokyo Olympics after a series of injuries and a slump in performance.

“I have struggled in recent years, but I could carry on because I have been determined never to give up until I achieve my goals,” Fukushima said at a press conference in Tokyo on the day. She said she made up her mind to retire from competition after last September’s annual national championship event sponsored by the Japan Industrial Track & Field Association.

At the Beijing Games, Fukushima, a native of Hokkaido, became the first Japanese athlete to compete in the women’s 100 meters in Olympics in 56 years. She said: “The Beijing Olympics stands out most in my mind. It was my starting point.”

In June 2009, Fukushima set the Japanese record of 11.28 seconds for the women’s 100 meters. She clocked 11.21 seconds later. Her Japanese record of 22.88 seconds for 200 meters was marked in 2016.

She won 100 meters and 200 meters in the 2010 Asian Games.

Fukushima made history in 2011, when she became the first Japanese track and field athlete to reach semifinals in 100 meters and 200 meters for the World Athletics Championships.

Fukushima finished first eight times each in the 100- and 200-meter events in the Japan National Championships, organized by the Japan Association of Athletics Federations.

After retirement, Fukushima, who now belongs to Seiko Holdings Corp. , will serve as “ambassador” for sports at the company.