Tokyo 2020 marathon in line for ear­lier start

Shanghai Daily - - SPORTS - OLYMPICS (Reuters)

TOKYO 2020 Olympic Games or­ga­niz­ers have for­mally pro­posed mov­ing the start time of the marathon races for­ward to avoid the worst of the Ja­panese cap­i­tal’s scorch­ing sum­mer heat.

The marathon events were ini­tially sched­uled to start at 7am lo­cal time but now Games or­ga­niz­ers have asked the IAAF, ath­let­ics gov­ern­ing body, to ap­prove mov­ing the start time to ei­ther 5.30am or 6am. The Tokyo 2020 Games will run from July 24 to Au­gust 9.

Tem­per­a­tures in Tokyo reached a record 41.1 de­grees Cel­sius this year, with the July av­er­age reach­ing more than 30 de­grees, ac­cord­ing to the Ja­panese Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Agency.

There were even calls to in­tro­duce day­light sav­ings time for the Games but with those plans quashed, an ear­lier start time is likely to ap­pease ath­letes and spec­ta­tors alike wor­ried about the heat.

The times for the rugby and moun­tain bike events have also been changed af­ter the IOC’s Co­or­di­na­tion Com­mis­sion took ad­vice from a team of ex­perts.

“Based on the pro­pos­als of the IOC’s ex­pert group, we are pro­ceed­ing to rec­om­mended ear­lier start­ing times for the men’s and women’s marathons and the 20-kilo­me­ter race walk,” said Tokyo 2020 pres­i­dent Yoshiro Mori yes­ter­day.

“As it is nec­es­sary to re­ceive ap­proval for such changes from the IAAF, we will work closely with them and aim to make a de­ci­sion by the end of this year.”

All the morn­ing rugby ses­sions will now start at 9am, one and a half hours ear­lier than pre­vi­ously sched­uled, with the cross-coun­try cy­cling push back an hour into the early evening.

“It will con­tinue to be front of mind for us and the or­ga­niz­ers and front of mind for the teams that are com­ing here,” added com­mis­sion chair John Coates.

“We will do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to en­sure they are not com­pet­ing at risk.”

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