Tokyo 2020 pro­pose ear­lier marathon time

‘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 20km race walk’

Gulf Times Sport - - SPORT -

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games or­gan­is­ers 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 or­gan­is­ers have asked the IAAF, ath­let­ics’ gov­ern­ing body, to ap­prove mov­ing the start time to ei­ther 5.30am or 6.00am lo­cal. The Tokyo 2020 Games will run from July 24 to Au­gust 9.

Tem­per­a­tures in Tokyo reached a record 41.1 de­grees Cel­sius (106 Fahren­heit) this year, with the July av­er­age reach­ing more than 30 de­grees since 1998, ac­cord­ing to the Ja­panese Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Agency.

There were even calls to in­tro­duce day­light sav­ings time for the Games but with those plans squashed, 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 Co-or­di­na­tion 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 kilo­me­tre race walk,” said Tokyo 2020 Pres­i­dent Yoshiro Mori in Tokyo yes­ter­day.

“As it is nec­es­sary to re­ceive ap­proval of 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 nine am, 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 or­gan­is­ers 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.”

Tokyo 2020 or­gan­is­ers are due to an­nounce ver­sion three of the bud­get on De­cem­ber 21 and the swathe of heat coun­ter­mea­sures pro­posed, in­clud­ing in­creased shade for spec­ta­tors and a heat-block­ing sur­face to the road, will add to the costs in­volved. “There is a list of about 20 pre­cau­tions they think we ought to take and they are not go­ing to be free,” said Coates.

De­spite this, Coates and the Tokyo 2020 or­gan­is­ers are con­fi­dent that the op­er­at­ing bud­get will break even.

“There is still some­way to go in terms of spon­sor­ships, to bal­ance the op­er­at­ing bud­get and there is still the ticket rev­enue to be achieved,” said Coates.

“But I would be very con­fi­dent that it would be a bal­anced bud­get, which in ef­fect means the op­er­at­ing costs will not cost the tax­pay­ers any­thing.”

“The Olympic move­ment, the Games, will have pro­vided all the rev­enues for the op­er­at­ing costs.”

The costs for the Games’ venues, which are largely all run­ning to sched­ule, will be ab­sorbed by the Tokyo Metropoli­tan Gov­ern­ment and are sep­a­rate to the op­er­at­ing costs.

The pre­vi­ous time Ja­pan hosted the Olympics, in 1964, the com­pe­ti­tion were held in Oc­to­ber to avoid the hot sum­mer con­di­tions.

Or­gan­is­ers have toyed with sev­eral ways of beat­ing the heat - even propos­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of day­light sav­ing time, an idea that ap­pears to have fallen by the way­side.

Ja­pan adopted day­light sav­ing in 1948 un­der US oc­cu­pa­tion after de­feat in World War II, but scrapped it four years later fol­low­ing con­cerns it was en­cour­ag­ing longer work hours.

Coates noted that this sum­mer was ab­nor­mal, with the mer­cury touch­ing a record 41 de­grees Cel­sius (105.8 Fahren­heit) dur­ing the hottest pe­ri­ods.

The hottest day of Olympic com­pe­ti­tion is the 36 Cel­sius mea­sured at the 2004 Athens Games.

The times for rugby and moun­tain bike events have also been changed after the co-or­di­na­tion com­mis­sion took ad­vice from ex­perts

(Reuters)

In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee (IOC) Vice Pres­i­dent John Coates (left) and Pres­i­dent of Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Par­a­lympic or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee Yoshiro Mori at­tend a news con­fer­ence in Tokyo on July 12, 2018.

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