Japan athletic executives hit 2020 Olympic marathon

Tokyo, November 5 (AFP) Japanese athletic officials on Tuesday criticized the decision to move the 2020 Olympic marathon and race events from Tokyo to Sapporo, saying the move did not prioritize competitors' interests.

The IOC ordered the move last month after seeing athletes fight to cope with the hot and humid conditions at the world championships in Doha in September.

The IOC was surprised by what we saw in Doha in very similar conditions in terms of temperature and humidity to what is expected here in Tokyo, said John Coates, head of the agency's coordinating commission, at the time of the announcement.

The IOC was responsible for always putting the health of the athletes first, he said. The announcement surprised Tokyo 2020 organizers, and on Tuesday Kazunori Asaba, head of training for the Association of Athletics Federations of Japan (JAAF), told reporters that it should never have been made.

It is as if the athletes who had been training for many years to climb Everest were told only nine months before going to a different mountain, he said.

The decision does not place athletes first in a real sense, he added. From the perspective of training ... 'athletes first' means not wasting your efforts.

Dozens of competitors were affected or needed medical attention as the hot and humid conditions took their toll on ultra-distance events at the Doha World Championships.

However, the marathon director of the JAAF, Tadasu Kawano, did not agree, saying that the athletes in Doha did not complain and did their best.

Athletes do not join competitions to protect themselves, he said.

It is your mission to make efforts within the rules that are already established and compete by manifesting superhuman abilities. Last week, the Tokyo government accepted the decision of the IOC, saying it was effectively out of reach. AFP SSC SSC SSC

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