The men’s and women’s marathons may be held in Sapporo on the same day during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, according to proposals by a group including the International Association of Athletics Federations.
They have drawn up two proposals on the schedule for the five marathon and race walking events at the Summer Games and both call for holding the men’s and women’s marathons on the same day, informed sources said Wednesday.
One proposal calls for holding the 20-km race walking events for men and women on Aug. 7, the men’s 50-km race walk on Aug. 8 and the men’s and women’s marathons on Aug. 9. The women’s marathon is currently scheduled for Aug. 2.
The other says the five events should be held between July 27-29 or between July 28-30, without specifying the date for the marathons.
Both are based on the premise that Olympic marathons and race walking will be held in Sapporo to avoid possible extreme heat in Tokyo.
At a meeting Wednesday, John Coates — the International Olympic Committee’s coordination commission chair — proposed holding a meeting on the venue change among the IOC, the organizing committee for the games, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the central government on Friday.
Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike expressed displeasure with the plan to move the events to Sapporo at Wednesday’s meeting, saying, “It’s an extremely unusual situation as the host city wasn’t consulted.”
Koike said the metropolitan government will not use taxpayer money to cover costs for Olympic marathons and race walks if the events are moved to Sapporo.
Organizing committee President Yoshiro Mori showed some understanding for the IOC’s concerns about summer heat in Tokyo after many runners dropped out of a marathon during the recent 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha.
“I ask the IOC to make efforts to gain support from people concerned, Tokyo residents and Japanese citizens,” the former prime minister said.