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

Kawauchi Named Captain of Japanese National Team for London World Championships

At a JAAF event at the British Embassy in Tokyo on July 21, marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (30, Saitama Pref. Gov't) was named men's captain of the Japanese national team for next month's London World Championships. Javelin throw national record holder Yuki Ebihara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) was chosen as women's captain.

In a wide-ranging and impassioned speech 4 minutes and 20 seconds long, Kawauchi stoked the team's morale as he told attendees, "I think that there are athletes here today who look at London as just a checkpoint along the way to the Tokyo Olympics. But as a representative of Japan it is not enough just to be there competing. I feel it strongly. You must produce results at this event, the London World Championships. This is the task assigned to each and every one of us. It is critical that we work seriously to achieve our goals. The Japanese people want nothing less. What can we as athletes do for them? More than just wearing the uniform, each of us mus…

'$500,000 USD Prized Asian Premier Marathon Series 2017-18 Launched in Beijing'

http://athleticsasia.org/index.php/k2-component/143-500-000-usd-prized-asian-premier-marathon-series-2017-18-launched-in-beijing

A very interesting World Marathon Majors-style development with prize money only for Asian athletes. Equally interesting is the absence of a Japanese race in the series. Japanese marathoners would dominate the series if they ran its three component races, their only real current competition in Asia coming from East African-born Bahraini athletes.

Hayakawa and Ichiyama Win Shibetsu Half

2nd in 2015 and 3rd last year, Tsubasa Hayakawa (Toyota) finally succeeded in scoring 1st at the Shibetsu Half Marathon, outrunning 2013-14 winner Masato Imai (Toyota Kyushu) by 6 seconds to win in 1:03:38. Hayakawa pushed it from the early stages of the race, Imai the only one to try to stay with him but ultimately losing touch. 2016 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon winner Melaku Abera (Kurosaki Harima) was 3rd in 1:03:51.

士別ハーフマラソン
日差しが強くなってきました…💦 pic.twitter.com/qRfUei3aRt — はたのまき (@machakin77) July 23, 2017
The women's field was split between two distances, 10 km and half marathon. Kanako Takemoto (Daihatsu) won the 10 km in 34:27 by a margin of almost 10 seconds over an Otsuka Seiyaku trio led by Ayaka Inoue. 2017 National Cross-Country champion and last year's 10 km runner-up Mao Ichiyama (Wacoal) took the top spot in the half marathon, outrunning teammate and national record holder Kayoko Fukushi and others to win in 1:14:01. Fukushi finished 4th in 1:15:41 behind last ye…