Tokyo’s governor, Yuriko Koike, has reluctantly dropped her opposition to the International Olympic Committee’s surprise decision to move next year’s Olympic marathon and walking events from the capital to the northern Japanese city of Sapporo due to concerns about the heat, The Guardian reports.
2020 Olympics: Tokyo accepts agrees to move marathon to Sapporo
STEPANAKERT, NOVEMBER 1, ARTSAKHPRESS: “We cannot agree with the final decision, but the IOC [International Olympic Committee] has the authority to change [the location],” Koike said on Friday in a meeting with IOC representative John Coates. “The most important thing is to assure the success of next year’s Games.”
Koike added: “I think we must move forward. I don’t approve, but the decision can’t be avoided.” A Japanese news report quoted her as saying it been a “painful decision, not an agreement”.
With less than nine months to go before the 2020 Games start, organisers must now arrange for the men’s and women’s marathons and walking races to be held 800 kilometres (500 miles) north of Tokyo in Sapporo, the biggest city on Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido.
Temperatures in Tokyo during July and August often exceed 30C, with high humidity expected to add to the athletes’ discomfort. Temperatures in Sapporo, which hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics, during that period are as much as six degrees cooler during the day. The last Summer Olympics in Tokyo, in 1964, were held in October.
The move follows the IOC’s sudden decision two weeks ago to relocate the prestigious events to avoid exposing athletes and spectators to Tokyo’s sweltering summer heat and humidity.