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Marathoner Nojiri Leaves National Champion Team Daiichi Seimei

http://www.nikkansports.com/sports/athletics/news/f-sp-tp0-20120322-921519.html

translated by Brett Larner

A member of last summer's World Championships women's marathon team, Azusa Nojiri (29) is set to leave her sponsor Team Daiichi Seimei according to a statement from a connected party on Mar. 22.  Nojiri plans to leave the team at the end of March but will not retire from competition.

According to Daiichi Seimei, Nojiri told the team management, "Now that my shot at the Olympics is over I want to take some time off.  I need to change my environment to keep becoming a more competitive athlete."  The team office accepted her resignation.  Nojiri does not yet have a new sponsor lined up but is exploring her options including the possibility of running as an independent.

A native of Toyama prefecture, Nojiri was an international-level cross-country skiier who competed at the World University Games and a champion mountain runner before switching her focus to road racing at age 26.  At January's Osaka International Women's Marathon Olympic selection race she was 3rd overall as the second Japanese finisher, failing to make the Olympic team.

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