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Page last updated at 07:28 GMT, Monday, 27 April 2009 08:28 UK

Yamauchi eyes medal at 2012 Games

Irina Mikitenko

Video - Yamauchi finishes second behind Mikitenko

Britain's Mara Yamauchi believes she can build on her second place in the London Marathon by contesting a podium finish at London 2012.

The Japan-based runner, who will be 39 by the time of the next Olympics, finished sixth in the Beijing Games.

"To run in an Olympics in your own country is very special. I hope I will still be around." she said.

"If I can improve to 2 hours 20 minutes, I believe I can challenge for a medal."


Yamauchi has taken unpaid leave from her job at the Foreign Office since January 2006 to concentrate on her running and been rewarded by steadily improving times.

Sunday's result saw her slice almost two minutes from her personal best as she finished ahead Constantina Dita, Catherine Ndereba and Zhou Chunxiu, the three Beijing Games medallists.

"I've been improving for the last four or five years. I knew from my training in the last year I'd make a big improvement and a top-three place was realistic," she added.

Mara delighted with personal best

Yamauchi's more immediate challenge is August's World Championships where she and Paula Radcliffe could spearhead a dangerous British charge.

"I think Berlin will be a super-fast course, which is good for me. Great Britain could win two medals in Berlin - that would be quite a result," she said.

World-record holder Radcliffe, who has not raced at London since her victory in 2005, must first complete her recovery from surgery to remove a bunion that is believed to have been an underlying cause of her persistent injury problems.

"She's a great athlete. I'm taking nothing away from her and just focusing on myself. Paula's CV is totally different from my CV," said Yamauchi.

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see also
Brit Yamauchi second in Marathon
26 Apr 09 |  Athletics
Mara runs out from Paula's shadow
26 Apr 09 |  Athletics
Fearnley wins wheelchair marathon
26 Apr 09 |  Disability Sport
Radcliffe out of London Marathon
05 Mar 09 |  Athletics
Mara's marathon - The last miles
23 Apr 09 |  Athletics
Athletics on the BBC
21 Apr 11 |  Athletics

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