Paralympics

2020 Paralympic marathon to start at 6:30 a.m. amid heat concerns

Kyodo

In a move to limit athletes’ exposure to severe heat, the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic marathon will start at 6:30 a.m., half an hour earlier than originally planned, sources revealed Monday.

The International Paralympic Committee had initially approved a 7 a.m. start, but a working group set up to re-examine issues related to the heat determined temperatures could be high enough to warrant concern for the health of athletes.

The Paralympic marathon is scheduled to take place on Sept. 6, the final day of the the games. Races will be held in five athlete classifications.

The course will be the same as the one used in the Olympics, encompassing a number of Tokyo landmarks before finishing in the new National Stadium.

The working group heard specific concerns related to some wheelchair athletes whose spinal cord injuries limit their ability to sweat, making them more susceptible to heat.

Concerns about Tokyo’s high summer temperatures have already caused the start times for the men’s and women’s Olympic marathons, as well as the 20-km race walk, to be brought forward an hour to 6 a.m. The men’s 50-km race walk will start half an hour earlier at 5:30 a.m.

The organizing committee will announce a detailed Paralympic Games schedule and ticket sales plan on Aug. 13.