China's He Jie made a desperate burst over the last 2 kilometers to win the men's marathon, while Bahrain's Eunice Chebichii Chumba cruised to victory in the women's event Thursday at the Asian Games.

All of the Japanese runners -- two each in the men's and women's races -- finished out of the medals. Toshiki Sadakata recorded the best finish among them by placing fourth place in the men's event in Hangzhou, China.

The Chinese gold medalist broke away from North Korea's Han Il Ryong with about 2 km left in the race before crossing the finish line in 2 hours, 13 minutes and 2 seconds.

China's He Jie (far L) and other runners compete in the men's marathon at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, on Oct. 5, 2023. (Kyodo)

From the two runners' expressions, the North Korean looked the likelier to have more left in the tank, but it was He who picked up speed, despite him appearing to show more strain on his face.

"I felt strong from the moment I stood at the starting point," He said. "All of my plans this year were centered on preparing for the Asian Games, as this competition is being held in China, and 1.4 billion Chinese people are watching."

Han clocked 2:13:27, and China's Yang Shaohui finished third in 2:13:39 on a cloudy day on the Smart New World Qiantang River Green Belt marathon course.

Yohei Ikeda, the other Japanese runner in the 18-man field, crossed in sixth.

Fourth-place finisher Sadakata revealed he had struggled to adjust to the constantly changing tempo of the race.

"I had to get a medal, so I'm disappointed and feel sorry," Sadakata said. "I've run marathons with the goal to better my time. But this one was all about who finished first, second and third. I've experienced something like this for the first time in my career."

Bahrain's Eunice Chebichii Chumba (front R) and other runners compete in the women's marathon at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, on Oct. 5, 2023. (Kyodo) 

The women's title race came down to two runners -- Chumba and China's Zhang Deshun -- just past the 30-km mark.

The runner from Bahrain then picked up the pace, leaving Zhang behind.

Chumba's winning time was 2:26:14, while Zhang crossed in 2:27:55 and Kyrgyzstan's Sardana Trofimova placed third in 2:28:41.

"It was a good one," Chumba said. "I feel good. This is the first time I have won a gold medal in the Asian Games, or in any championships. All the people shouted for me, (and) that pushed me to win it, pushed me to the finish line."

Japan's Hikari Onishi and Mirai Waku were fifth and 13th, respectively.

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