Skip to main content

2020 Tokyo Olympics Race Walk Course to Change After IAAF Criticism

http://www.sankei.com/sports/news/150724/spo1507240001-n1.html

translated by Brett Larner

Multiple people involved with the situation confirmed on July 23 that the race walk course for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics that has been in place since Tokyo's initial bid is to undergo changes.  The original plan involved a start and finish at the Olympic Stadium with a circuit course on Aoyama Street, but IAAF officials deemed that the 1.3 km segment on Gaien Nishi Street connecting the stadium and circuit course makes it "difficult to position referees," forcing a revision of the plans.

In race walking it is illegal for both feet to be in the air at the same time, and the leading leg must remain straight from the time the heel contacts the ground until the leg is in the vertical position.  In the Olympics nine referees are properly placed to determine by visual inspection whether athletes' form constitutes a violation of either rule.

According to an involved party, the new course remains undetermined at this point.  While there is a possibility that the event may be moved completely away from the Olympic Stadium in order to stage it in one of Tokyo's well-known and popular districts, in terms of operational logistics such as athlete warm-up and transportation as well as security issues, a stadium start and finish remains the first choice.  Given these circumstances, the Olympic Games organizing committee and JAAF are examining the options.

No Japanese athlete has won an Olympic race walking gold medal in the event's history, but in March Yusuke Suzuki (Team Fujitsu) broke the 20 km world record, an indication that the sport is progressing.  It is bound to receive a great deal of domestic attention at the Tokyo Olympics, but the question remains where exactly that will happen.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kawabata Over Kawauchi at Takashimadaira 20 km

Like a distant echo of the thunder of yesterday's Yosenkai 20 km reverberating across the city, Tokyo's other major 20 km road race took place this morning in the northwestern suburb of Takashimadaira. Narrowly surviving the loss of its main sponsor last year, the Takashimadaira Road Race offers a unique 5 km loop course that delivers fast times. Now in its 42nd year, Takashimadaira is a favorite for upper-tier universities that don't have to run the Yosenkai to requalify for the Hakone Ekiden, for other schools' second-stringers, and for top-level independents and amateurs.

This year's race was fronted by a group of runners from Izumo Ekiden winner Tokai University who didn't make Tokai's final Izumo roster, by London World Championships marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and others from yesterday's Yosenkai winner Teikyo University and the Hakone-qualified Juntendo University and Komazawa University. In the same cool and lightly rainy…

Kawauchi and Kanematsu Win Rainy Shimantogawa 100 km

The 23rd edition of the Shimantogawa Ultramarathon took place Oct. 15 in Shimanto, Kochi. 1822 runners started the 100 km division, where Yoshiki Kawauchi (26, Saitama T&F Assoc.) and Aiko Kanematsu (37, Team RxL) took the men's and women's titles for the first time.

The 100 km division started under a heavy downpour at 5:30 a.m. in front of Warabioka J.H.S. The 576 participants in the 60 km division got off 4 1/2 hours later from Koinobori Park, with both races finishing at Nakamura H.S.

Kawauchi, the younger brother of "civil servant runner" Yuki Kawauchi, ran Shimantogawa for the second time, improving dramatically on last year's run to win in 6:42:06. "Last time I was 21st, a total disaster," Kawauchi said afterward. "My brother told me, 'Don't overdo it on the uphills,' and his advie helped me get through it. The scenery around Iwama Chinkabashi was really beautiful."

Kanematsu began running with her husband around age 30…

Osaka Marathon Elite Field

One of the world's ten biggest marathons, in its six runnings to date the Osaka Marathon has continued to avoid the addition of a world-class elite field of the same caliber as at equivalently-sized races like Tokyo, Berlin and Boston. In place of doling out cash to pros, Osaka's women's field has developed into a sort of national championship race for amateur women.

In the field this year are six, probably all six, of the amateur Japan women to have broken 2:40 in the last three years. Last year's top three, Yoshiko Sakamoto (F.O.R.), Yumiko Kinoshita (SWAC) and Hisae Yoshimatsu (Shunan City Hall) lead the way at the 2:36 +/- level, with a second trio of Marie Imada (Iwatani Sangyo), Mitsuko Ino (R2 Nishin Nihon) and Chika Tawara (RxL) all around the 2:39 level.

Last year's winner Sakamoto and 3rd placer Yoshimatsu squared off in September at Germany's Volksbank Muenster Marathon, Yoshimatsu tying Sakamoto's Osaka winning time of 2:36:02 to take 3rd over …