Defending Olympic women's marathon champion Mizuki Noguchi of Japan has withdrawn from the Beijing Games because of a left thigh injury.
The chief of Japan's Olympic delegation Tomiaki Fukuda made the announcement Tuesday, saying the 30-year-old Noguchi has an injured muscle in her left thigh. Japan will not send a replacement marathoner for Noguchi, because her substitute also is injured.
No runner has won the women's marathon gold in two consecutive Olympics. This year's field looks wide open, with Noguchi out and British world record holder Paula Radcliffe still attempting to recover from a stress fracture in her left thigh.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.