The 18th Oita International
Wheelchair Marathon
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(The race can be watched from
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On 31 October the opening ceremony of the 18th Oita International Wheelchair Marathon was held at the Ohsu Gymnasium in Oita under the clearly blue sky. Many people including 435 athletes from all over the world (27 countries), 3000 volunteers, audience, and sponsors, etc. got together to commemorate one of the well known Marathon races.

Around hundred seventy thousand audience showed up to cheer up the athletes on the course which was starting from the Prefecture Government office and finishing at the Oita Municipal Athletic Stadium.

Mr. Heinz Frei from Switzerland who has won for 8 times has again got the championship of the full Marathon for men at 1hour 26 minutes 55 seconds time.

Although Mr. Saul Mendoza from Mexico had the crash with another athlete during the race he was able to get the second place.

The winner of the full Marathon for women is Ms. Monica Wettersrom from Sweden with the record of 1hour 51 minutes 36 seconds time, who has won in the 13th Marathon.
She said that because her family, especially her 12 years old son supported her every time she could continue running until today, and could achieve the championship. 

As well as athletes from within Japan,
77 people from 27 overseas countries attended the Marathon.
Here are some participants.

From the front right, Mr. Tomonari Kaneko who has participated this Marathon for 3 times from Nagano prefecture, Mr. Takanobu Satoh from Oita city who has joined 10 times, and his wife, Ms. Megumi, and on the back, Mr. Sanshichi Hirasawa taking part in more than 10 times from Nagano.

Mr. Torakichi Itho who has participated for 7 times from Ehime prefecture told that it was really hard race this time because of the strong wind, which prevented his way.

From the right, Mr. Wang Chung-Fu from Taiwan who is one of the youngest participants, 16-year-old, and Mr. Masakazu Sudoh as an interpreter from Tokyo, who does yacht racing, too.
"The most enjoyable thing was making friends with other members like Mr. Sudoh who became like my brother." Mr. Chung-Fu commented on this race, which was the first visit Japan for him.

He is Mr. Andy Anderson from the U.S.A. who has joined this race for 9 times. He likes Oita and always goes to facilities to present wheelchairs and meets people. He continued, this Marathon was one of the greatest races in the world as all supporters were brilliant people who cheered him up. "It was a difficult race but everyone had the same condition, so even if it were rain, wind, or snow, the race would be the same for me. I enjoyed today, indeed." He told about today's race.

Almost a year was taken making good condition to take part in this race.
Unfortunately, strong wind was the obstacle for racing today
although it was a nice day with lots of sunshine.

We are looking forward to meeting all of them again here in Oita next year!!
by Yuko Kusamoto