Japanese women’s sprint record holder Chisato Fukushima retires

Chisato Fukushima, the Japanese women’s record holder in the 100 and 200 meters, announced her retirement on Saturday.

The 33-year-old from Hokkaido clocked 11.21 seconds in the 100m in 2010 and 22.88 seconds in the 200m in 2016. Fukushima has competed in three consecutive Olympics starting with the 2008 Games in Beijing.

“It’s been 23 years since I started athletics in the fourth year of primary school. I realized my dream by participating in the Olympic Games and I was able to overcome many challenges. I had a happy career,” she told a news conference.

Winner of eight national championships in each of the two distances, Fukushima has been the face of Japanese women’s sprinting for more than a decade but was unable to qualify for the postponed Tokyo Olympics last summer.

“I had tough seasons in recent years. My training consisted of things I could do rather than what I wanted to do,” said Fukushima, who had been plagued with injuries after the Rio 2016 Games.

She looked fondly at her career, saying her love for the sport will not change as she plans to continue coaching children.

“I remember just about every race in my career because it relates to how I felt then, what record I set, where it was held and what competition it was,” said said Fukushima, whose last race was in a national tournament in late September.

“I’m going to have to think about how I can improve (the kids) every day. The only difference from now is that I will be thinking of them rather than myself, and I imagine my motivation will remain the same.

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