Tokyo Olympic marathon to be moved to Hokkaido due to heat: IOC

FILE PHOTO: Tokyo 2020 mascot robot Miraitowa, which will be used to support the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, is unveiled by mascots Miraitowa and Someity during the robot unveiling event to celebrate the first anniversary of the mascot debut at Tokyo Stadium in Tokyo, Japan July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato

TOKYO (Reuters) – The Olympic marathon and race walking events during Tokyo 2020 will be moved to Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido from the capital due to concerns about heat, the International Olympic Committee said on Wednesday.

“Athletes’ health and well-being are always at the heart of our concerns,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a statement. “The new far-reaching proposals to move the marathon and race walking events show how seriously we take such concerns.”

Organisers of next year’s Tokyo Olympics had been looking for ways to battle heat. Suffocating humidity and high temperatures during the recent world athletics championships in Doha had also prompted athletes and officials to discuss weather conditions.

Temperatures in Tokyo during July and August, when the city hosts the Olympic and Paralympic Games, commonly exceed 30 degrees Celsius, with high humidity adding to the discomfort.

Sapporo temperatures during the period are as much as five to six degrees centigrade cooler during the day than in Tokyo, the committee said.

Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by William Mallard and Christian Radnedge

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