TERADA Asuka back on top of women's 100m hurdles after 11-year absence

Amid a topsy-turvy career, Japan record-holder puts herself in excellent position to book first trip to Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in 2021 by virtue of world rankings.

Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Eleven years on, TERADA Asuka was back at the top of the podium in all of Japan.

Terada won the women's 100-metre hurdles on Saturday 26 June at the national athletics championships for the first time since 2010, positioning herself to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games through the world rankings.

Terada comfortably crossed the finish line first in 13.09 seconds ahead of KIYOYAMA Chisato (13.22) at Nagai Stadium in Osaka.

While falling short of the Games qualifying time of 12.84 as well as the Japan record she owns of 12.87, Terada's No. 36 ranking - which should go up following Saturday's result - would send the 31-year-old veteran to her first Olympic Games.

The top three from each country ranked inside 40th qualify for these Games.

"I think I will be OK for the Olympics because my ranking should improve after today", Terada said.

"I wound myself into a knot wanting to automatically qualify so badly. But I still came in first which for me was the bar today.

"It wasn't easy. The national championships always mean a lot to me".

A winding road

Terada travelled a winding road to reach where she was Saturday. In 2013, she retired from track once and gave birth to her daughter the following year.

In 2016, Terada decided to take up competitive sport again - but in rugby sevens and became good enough to be selected to the national team in 2017.

That May, however, she broke her right fibula during a match, an injury that ended her rugby career.

But in 2019, Terada returned to track, becoming the first Japanese to break the 13-second barrier that September. This season alone, she has rewritten the national record twice.

Which explains the huge smile on her face on Saturday, when Terada was optimistic about not only qualifying for Tokyo 2020 but doing well there.

"When I quit, I never thought I'd be back on this stage again so to be able to win here again after all this time means a lot", she said.

"I just need to figure out how to peak in time for the Olympics. I was running really well from April to June. If I can recapture the form then I should be OK".

Abdul Hakim Sani Brown
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Sani Brown, Kiryu out in 200

Former men's 100 record-holders SANI BROWN Abdul Hakim and KIRYU Yoshihide withdrew from 200 qualifying due to injuries.

Sani Brown pulled out with discomfort in his left hamstring, Kiryu with continued pain in his right achilles. The two finished sixth and fifth, respectively, in the 100 a night earlier, failing to qualify.

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