Ethiopia and Uganda set for showdown at Osaka Women’s Marathon


In what is gearing up to be a thrilling face-off at the Osaka Women’s Marathon this Sunday, Ethiopian runners Workenesh Edesa and Sisay Meseret Gola are poised to challenge Uganda’s Stella Chesang, alongside a formidable lineup of Japanese athletes.

The World Athletics Platinum Label road race is set to witness a high-stakes battle among some of the world’s elite marathoners.

Workenesh Edesa, holding the fastest personal best in the field with a time of 2:18:51 from the 2022 Berlin Marathon, is a strong contender. Her impressive track record includes podium finishes in 10 of her 15 career marathons, with four recent races completed in under 2:21.

Last year’s victory in Prague and a remarkable 2:19:40 finish in Berlin further cement her status as a favorite.

Stella Chesang from Uganda, the 2018 Commonwealth 10,000m champion, enters the race as a potential dark horse. Despite having only contested one marathon so far, she made a significant impact by setting a national record of 2:20:23 and finishing third in Hamburg.

Another formidable Ethiopian athlete, Sisay Meseret Gola, who finished second in last year’s event, will be eager to climb to the top of the podium.

With a personal best of 2:20:50, set at the 2022 Seville Marathon, Gola has consistently demonstrated her prowess, finishing as runner-up in six of her last ten marathons.

Japan’s own Mizuki Matsuda, aiming to become the first four-time winner in Osaka, faces tough competition from the African athletes.

Matsuda, who has previously triumphed three times in Osaka, last won in 2021 with a personal best and course record of 2:20:52. Her most recent performance was at the World Championships in Budapest, where she finished 13th.

The Osaka Women’s Marathon also holds significant implications for Japanese athletes eyeing a spot in the Olympic team. With the Nagoya Marathon in March marking the final opportunity for Olympic qualification, strong performances in Osaka could potentially secure a place in the team.

Other Japanese athletes in contention include Sayaka Sato, Honami Maeda, and Natsumi Matsushita, each vying for a chance to represent Japan at the Olympics.

Maeda, the winner of the Marathon Grand Championships ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, and Sato, who set a personal best in Berlin last year, are among those to watch.

As the athletes line up for Sunday’s race, the Osaka Women’s Marathon is set to be not just a contest of speed and endurance but also a strategic battle among some of the best marathoners in the world.

With top athletes from Ethiopia, Uganda, and Japan, the race promises to be a gripping display of long-distance running at its finest.

Leading elite entries

Workenesh Edesa (ETH) 2:18:51
Stella Chesang (UGA) 2:20:23
Sisay Meseret Gola (ETH) 2:20:50
Mizuki Matsuda (JPN) 2:20:52
Sayaka Sato (JPN) 2:22:13
Honami Maeda (JPN) 2:22:32
Natsumi Matsushita (JPN) 2:23:05
Rie Kawauchi (JPN) 2:25:35
Ayano Ikemitsu (JPN) 2:26:07
Yuna Daito (JPN) 2:26:09
Daeun Jeong (KOR) 2:28:32
Kaena Takeyama (JPN) 2:29:20
Militsa Mircheva (BUL) 2:29:23

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