Yuka Ando turned on the jets over the final kilometer to win the Nagoya Women's Marathon in a personal-best 2 hours, 21 minutes, 18 seconds on Sunday.

The 29-year-old was unable to secure a place on the Japanese Olympic team, however, having needed to beat the national record of 2:18:59 set by Honami Maeda at the Osaka Women's Marathon in January.

Maeda's performance in Osaka will see her fill the third and final Japanese berth in the Paris Olympic women's marathon this summer.

Nagoya Women's Marathon winner Yuka Ando crosses the finish line at Vantelin Dome Nagoya in Aichi Prefecture, central Japan, on March 10, 2024. (Kyodo)

Ando was neck-and-neck with Bahrain's Eunice Chumba from around the 39-km mark before pulling away from the eventual runner-up near the finish line at Vantelin Dome Nagoya. Japan's Ayuko Suzuki was third.

"I wasn't able to make it to Paris, but I'm really happy to win today," Ando said. "By the end, I wanted to win badly and gave it everything I had."

One of the favorites coming into the race, Ethiopia's Gotytom Gebreslase, set the pace alongside Chumba for much of the event before pulling out with apparent leg trouble with roughly 6 km left to run.

"It was tough when I was behind in the middle of the race, but I just looked ahead and kept chasing without giving up," Ando said.

Yuka Suzuki and Mao Ichiyama booked Japan's first two Olympic tickets at the Marathon Grand Championship in October.

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