Koyama, Suzuki Win Qualifying Races in Marathon for Paris Olympics

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Naoki Koyama wins the men’s race in the Marathon Grand Championship on Sunday at Tokyo’s National Stadium.

Naoki Koyama won the men’s race and Yuka Suzuki cruised to victory in the women’s event at the Marathon Grand Championship, Japan’s domestic qualifier for the marathon for the 2024 Paris Olympics, on a rainy Sunday in Tokyo.

Koyama, winner of the Gold Coast Marathon in Australia in July, finished first in 2 hours 8 minutes 57 seconds in the field of 65 on the course that started and finished at Tokyo’s National Stadium.

Earning the second of the two Olympic spots up for grabs in the men’s race was Akira Akasaki, the runner-up in 2:09:06. Both Koyama and Akasaki will be appearing in their first Olympics.

Suguru Osako, who placed sixth at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, put himself in line for the third and final spot by finishing third in 2:09:11.

Japan record-holder Kengo Suzuki did not finish after pulling up before the 12-kilometer mark.

The third ticket to Paris will be decided following the three major marathons in Fukuoka, Osaka and Tokyo to be held from December to March. The fastest runner in those races who clocks 2:05:41 or better will earn the spot; if no one meets that standard, the berth will go to Osako.

Yuka Suzuki, running her third career marathon, won out in the women’s field of 27, in 2:24:09, with Tokyo Olympian Mao Ichiyama also earning a place in Paris by finishing second in 2:24:43.

Ai Hosoda placed third in 2:24:50. A standard of 2:21:41 has been set for securing the third Olympic spot at two marathons for the women, Osaka in January and Nagoya in March.