Tokyo Olympic marathons headed to cooler Sapporo
Nikkei -- Oct 17
The International Olympic Committee is considering moving the marathons and race walking events for the 2020 Summer Games from Tokyo to the northern island of Hokkaido amid concerns about the Japanese capital's stiflingly hot weather.

"Athletes' health and well-being are always at the heart of our concerns," IOC President Thomas Bach said Wednesday. It is unusual for an Olympic venue to be changed less than a year before the event.

Sapporo, the capital city of Hokkaido, is expected to be 5 C to 6 C cooler than Tokyo during the 2020 Olympics. The Japanese capital is notorious for its sweltering summers with high humidity. Bach said the move is to protect both athletes and spectators.

Stakeholders will meet from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 in Tokyo to discuss details regarding the switch.

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike did not welcome the sudden announcement. "The change was announced out of the blue, and this type of approach leaves significant challenges for the future," the governor said.

"We've already sold some tickets," said one member of the organizing committee, expressing frustration over the announcement.

The IOC decision likely was triggered by the recent World Athletics Championships in the Qatari capital of Doha, another city with high temperatures and humidity, the committee member said.

At Doha, the women's marathon and all race walking events were held in temperatures of over 30 C as well as 70% humidity, despite starting around midnight to avoid the worst of the heat. Just 60% of athletes finished these races.

News source: Nikkei
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