The 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships marathons in Doha were held at night because of the sweltering daytime heat and humidity Photo: AFP/File
sports

Japan athletics execs slam 2020 Olympic marathon move

9 Comments
By MUSTAFA ABUMUNES

Japanese athletics officials on Tuesday slammed the decision to move the 2020 Olympic marathon and race-walking events from Tokyo to Sapporo, saying the move did not put competitor interests first.

The IOC ordered the move last month after seeing athletes struggle to cope with hot and humid conditions at the world championships in Doha in September.

"The IOC was shocked by what we saw in Doha in very similar conditions in terms of temperature and humidity to what's expected here in Tokyo," John Coates, head of the body's coordination commission, said at the time of the announcement.

The IOC had a responsibility "to always put the health of athletes first", he said.

The announcement caught Tokyo 2020 organizers by surprise, and on Tuesday Kazunori Asaba -- training chief of the Japan Association of Athletics Federations (JAAF) -- told reporters it should never have been made.

"It's like the athletes who had been training for many years to climb Everest were told just nine months before they would go to a different mountain," he said.

The decision "does not put athletes first in a real sense", he added. "From the perspective of training... 'athletes first' means not wasting their efforts."

Dozens of competitors were affected or needed medical attention as hot and humid conditions took their toll in the ultra-distance events at the Doha world championships.

JAAF marathon director Tadasu Kawano disagreed, however, saying the athletes in Doha did not complain and tried their best.

"The athletes are not joining competitions to be protected," he said. "It is their mission to make efforts within the rules that are already set and compete by manifesting superhuman abilities."

The Tokyo government last week accepted the IOC decision, saying it was effectively out of their hands.

© 2019 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

9 Comments
Login to comment

"It's like the athletes who had been training for many years to climb Everest were told just nine months before they would go to a different mountain," he said.

So Tokyo is the equivalent of the tallest mountain on earth; the one every mountain climber dreams of summiting; the one no one could get to the top of until the 20th century?

What colossal arrogance. The athletes want to put in the best performance they can. It's the Olympic rings that they're aiming for, not the specific city of Tokyo.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

I can't believe they're complaining when it will ultimately benefit them!?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Japanese athletics officials should 'slam' Tokyo 2020 organizers for their incompetent handling of the whole situation. They dithered from one sticking plaster solution to the next without ever making decisive decisions. Mist machines, road surface coverings, requesting ground floor business leave open doors so air con can flow out into the street, changing the start time 1 hour earlier...no, 2 hours earlier...no, midnight...no, 6AM...

My reading of the situation is simply the IOC ran out of patience with them and decided to make a clear and decisive final decision. The safety of the athletes is paramount, and a controversial decision is worth that in the grand scheme of things.

Now everyone knows what is happening, and Sapporo can get on with organizing everything.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Part of JAAF's calculations has always been that Japanese athletes would have an advantage in the Tokyo heat, leading hopefully to more home golds; I have read grumblings among them on the web that this advantage has now been suddenly and unfairly (i.e. no consultation) taken away.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

saying the move did not put competitor interests first.

They mean...THEIR interests first!  Greed at its best. It's more like - words were spoken, hands were shook and now they're unable to deliver on their deals.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

A poor decision of inconvenience at the last moment shows disrespect to all, and they do it because they can, despite not making the right decision earlier when they could - knowing that holding the Olympics in Japan in summer would be problematic. Incompetent fools!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

What a mess... It proved one more time that the present Olympics are long overdue their usefulness.

Didn't the IOC, when granted this overbloated show to Tokyo, know that summer here is really hot?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Didn't the IOC, when granted this overbloated show to Tokyo, know that summer here is really hot?

And humid, yes, but the fools did it anyway without pushing back the start date to October.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Pride goeth before the fall.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites