Inside the Games reports that the IOC has made final the decision to move the marathons and race-walk events to Sapporo, Haikkado due to health and welfare of the athletes.
The decision was likely made quickly to quiet the noise created between the two sides, one looking to keep the distance road events in Tokyo but run early in the morning, the other to move the events north.
The temperatures in Tokyo are typically 5 to 15C degrees cooler than Doha, which is sigificant. The average high in Doha in the summer hovers around 40C, while the average in Tokyo is 30C. Most global championship events are warm or hot – this is not new, however, Doha was an anomoly and was awarded through a bribe process.
Tokyo is highly unlikely to be a repeat of Doha.
From Inside the Games
The decision to move the marathons and race-walking events at Tokyo 2020 is final and will not be revisited, despite local opposition to the switch, senior International Olympic Committee (IOC) official John Coates has confirmed.
Coates, chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission for Tokyo 2020, told reporters before meeting Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike today that the decision “had been taken” and answered “no” when asked if the events could remain in the Japanese capital.
The Australian added the IOC was aware of the “great disappointment” in Tokyo, but stressed the decision to relocate the races to Sapporo, 800 kilometres north of the capital, had been made with the “health and welfare” of the athletes in mind.
Concerning scenes during the marathons at the International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships in Doha were the main reason behind the move, Coates said.
A total of 28 athletes withdrew from the women’s marathon due to extreme heat, while others were given medical treatment as a result of the conditions.
Daily temperatures in Sapporo – the capital of Hokkaido, the northernmost prefecture in Japan – are as much as five to six degrees centigrade cooler during the time of the Games than in Tokyo.
“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,” Coates said.
“We didn’t want Tokyo to be remembered for similar images as you will have seen in Doha in the marathon and in the race-walking events.”