After Ai Ueda won this year’s Asian Championships, Japan was assured of at least one women’s in the Olympic Games fields. With Juri Ide and Kiyomi Niwata high enough in the Olympic rankings, Japan easily qualified the maximum of three women. Click here for the final Olympic rankings photo Satoshi Takasaki/JTU ITU Media
With three women's spots qualified for the third straight Olympics, the first was awarded to Ai Ueda who topped the field for her second elite Asian championship in Guanzhou, China earlier this year. Beijing will be her first Olympic Games. Ueda was a silver medalist at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha. Juri Ide and Kiyomi Niwata were selected by the Japanese Triathlon Union to join Ueda on the women’s Olympic team. Ide has been solid this year, placing eighth in Mooloolaba, fourth in Ishigaki, just narrowly missing the podium in her home country, and 11th at world championships. At last year's world cup season finale, Ide broke through for her first world cup podium.
The women's team is rounded out by veteran Kiyomi Niwata, a regular on the world cup circuit since 1997. The veteran Niwata is the only member of Japan's 2008 Olympic team to have competed at both previous Olympics, finishing 14th in Sydney and Athens. Last year she reached number two in the world, the highest of any Japanese triathlete in history. This year she was runner-up at the Asian championships behind teammate Ueda.