Tokyo Olympic marathon moved 800km south due to heat fears

Officials want to avoid repeat of the chaos at World Athletics Championship marathon

Laban Kipngetich Korir of Kenia splashes water during the marathon in Doha at the World Athletics Championships which was marred by serious heat. Photo: Maja Hitij/Getty Images

Laban Kipngetich Korir of Kenia splashes water during the marathon in Doha at the World Athletics Championships which was marred by serious heat. Photo: Maja Hitij/Getty Images

 

The International Olympic Committee has announced plans to move the Tokyo 2020 marathon and race walking events over 800 kilometres south of Japan’s capital city to Sapporo.

Organisers seem eager to avoid a repeat of what occurred at the recent World Athletics Championships in Doha, where almost half the field failed to complete the women’s marathon because of sweltering heat and humidity.

Sapporo, the host of the 1972 Winter Olympics, can be five to six degrees cooler on average than Tokyo during the Games period of mid-to-late July and early August.

IOC president Thomas Bach said: “Athletes’ health and well-being are always at the heart of our concerns.

“The new far-reaching proposals to move the marathon and race walking events show how seriously we take such concerns.

“The Olympic Games are the platform where athletes can give ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ performances, and these measures ensure they have the conditions to give their best.”

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