Osaka: Tetyana Gamera-Shmyrko of Ukraine came back from behind to beat Japan’s Kayoko Fukushi to win the Osaka International Women’s Marathon on Sunday.
The 29-year-old, once behind front-running Fukushi by more than 140 metres, caught up with her rival in the last 920 metres to snatch the lead before crossing the line in 2 hours 23 minutes and 58 seconds.
“I thought I would never be able to catch up with her [Fukushi] because she was very fast in the beginning,” said Gamera-Shmyrko, who broke her personal best of 2:24.32, which she set at the London Olympics when she finished fifth. “I usually move up my pace after 30 kilometres (19 miles). I found that I was able to run faster in the last two kilometres and then I took the lead ahead of her.”
Fukushi formed a front-running group with fellow Japanese Mari Ozaki and Yuko Watanabe, Gamera-Shmyrko and pace-setters.
When the last two pace-setters abandoned the race at the 30 kilometre mark, it seemed that Fukushi was going to run alone for the remainder of the race as the others had been left behind. But Fukushi slowed down in the last seven kilometres, allowing Gamera-Shmyrko to come back into the race.
Fukushi also improved her personal best by clocking 2:24.21, but it was not enough to qualify for the world championships in Moscow in August.
Watanabe came in third at 2:25.56, followed by Ozaki in 2:26.41, while the former Japanese fastest-time record holder Yoko Shibui was eighth in 2:32.41.