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TOKYO 2020 RINGS CHANGES

Olympics marathon races to be held early morning

In Summary

• The possibility of extreme weather, including typhoons, is a “major issue”, according to Tokyo 2020 chief executive officer, Toshiro Muto

• All five road events will be held on separate days with no overlap so each will have its own chance in the spotlight.

Olympics flag
Olympics flag
Image: FILE

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games marathon events will start at 06:00 local time to avoid extreme heat. The games will run from July 24 July to August 9. Organisers confirmed the schedule following warnings from Japanese medics that running in mid-morning could “lead to deaths” from heatstroke.

The possibility of extreme weather, including typhoons, is a “major issue”, according to Tokyo 2020 chief executive officer, Toshiro Muto. Kenyans Eliud Kipchoge (men) and Jemimah Sumgong (women) won respective marathon races in the 2016 Games in Rio. The men’s 50km race will begin at 05:30, while the schedules for the triathlon, rugby sevens and mountain biking have also been moved to avoid the highest temperatures. When Japan last hosted the Olympics in 1964, they were held in October to avoid the summer heat.

The marathons began at 9:30 local time at Rio 2016 when the temperature was 19C. Organisers have described the middle weekend of Tokyo 2020 on August 1 and 2—as “Super Saturday” and “Golden Sunday”.

 

On Saturday, 21 gold medals will be won, and a further 26 on Sunday, when the men’s 100m final, the women’s marathon and the men’s tennis singles final will take place. The athletics programme was released and will be spread over ten days. Athletics competition at the 32nd Summer Olympic Games will commence on July 31 with the men’s 20km race walk, which will finish in front of Tokyo Imperial Palace, and conclude on the final day of the Games, August 9, with the men’s marathon.

“The Tokyo 2020 schedule is substantially different from our previous Olympic timetables, but will offer the vast majority of athletics fans attending the Games the opportunity to see Olympic medals being decided, with finals scheduled in 15 of the 17 sessions in the main stadium,”

IAAF competitions director Paul Hardy said. “Having finals in the morning, as requested by the International Olympic Committee, will enhance the visibility of athletics across all time zones. The stadium-based distance events remain in the evening sessions to reduce the risk of very hot conditions for our endurance athletes, while the road events will start as early as practicable in the morning.

“The new schedule also accommodates both the traditional doubles and the historic addition of the mixed 4 X 400m relay, the first time that athletics has combined the talents of both male and female athletes in one event at the Games.” Nine finals will take place during the morning sessions— plus the finish of both marathons and all three race walks— which will allow more of the global audience to watch finals in prime time.

The spread of events will allow most of the traditional doubles – 100m/200m, 200m/400m, 800m/1500m, 1500m/5000m, 5000m/10,000m – to be contested by athletes who are capable of contending in more than one event.

All five road events will be held on separate days with no overlap so each will have its own chance in the spotlight.