translated and edited by Brett Larner
In preparation for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics two years from now, executives from each Japanese sports federation visited the city this week to inspect the venues for their disciplines during the same period in which the Olympics will take place. JAAF representatives including men's marathon director Takeshi Soh and women's marathon director Yutaka Taketomi examined the marathon course running through the heart of the city.
For the most part the course avoids the Copacapana and Ipanema waterfront that characterizes Rio de Janeiro, instead featuring many straight sections with few hills or undulations. Although it is winter, temperatures in Rio de Janeiro peaked at 30 degrees with strong sunshine on the day of the course inspection. Members of the inspection committee began at the start point of the marathon, examining the road conditions and taking measurements of the road surface temperature and perceived heat in the shade all along the course.
Men's director Soh commented, "I had heard that the humidity would be quite high but it was unexpectedly low. I think the crosswind from the ocean helped to lower the heat. I plan to take full advantage of the data we have gathered for our planning and future development. The sooner we can do that the better. If the race goes right I think we can target times as well. It's a great course." Women's director Taketomi spoke about the difficult hills at the turnaround point, saying, "That will be the deciding point of the race. We have to come into this being comfortable enough to be able to compete at that point in the race. There is a great deal we can do to prepare beforehand, and that gives us a chance."