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

Daniel and Kawauchi Win Saitama International Marathon

After missing a medal by 3 seconds at August's London World Championships, defending champ Flomena Cheyech Daniel (Kenya) made it two in a row as she won a tight battle against Shitaye Habtegebrel (Bahrain) to win the Saitama International Marathon in 2:28:39.

With the onus on Japanese women Reia Iwada (Dome) and Kaori Yoshida (Team RxL) to break 2:29:00 in order to qualify for Japan's new-format 2020 Olympic trials race, the pair of them did most of the heavy lifting for the first two-thirds of the race. Yoshida led the early kilometers before Iwade took over, and through strong head and tailwinds, over rolling hills and around sharp turns Iwade kept things moving just under target pace, shaking the pack down to just her, Daniel, Habtegebrel and relative unknown Bekelech Daba (Ethiopia) by 15 km.

Little changed up front until after the lead group hit the start of the hilliest 10 km on the course after 25 km. For the first time Iwade slipped to the rear of the pack, and on a …

Ekiden Weekend Roundup

Ekiden season is in full swing, and across the country it was another busy weekend. Although there were four major ekidens nationwide, the best action came as runners from high school to the pros tuned up for the string of national championship ekiden races stretching from the end of this month to mid-January. At Kanagawa's Nittai University Time Trials meet, two-time steeplechase junior world champion Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu) pipped 5000 m junior world championships bronze medalist William Malel (Honda) at the line in the 10000 m A-heat, winning in 27:22.73 to Malel's 27:22.79. Four other Kenyans including Ndiku's junior teammate Richard Kimunyan broke 28 minutes as their coaches eye who to run at the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden.



Evans Yego of the tiny Sunbelx supermarket team won the more conservative 5000 m A-heat in 13:48.04, a race most notable for high schoolers Luka Musembi (Sendai Ikuei H.S.), Masato Suzuki (Suijo H.S.) and Reito Hanzawa (Gakuho Ishikawa H.S.) …

Breaking Down the Best-Ever Japanese Marathon Times By Country

Japanese marathoners these days have the reputation of rarely racing abroad, and of rarely racing well when they do. Back in the day that wasn't true; Japanese marathoners have won all the World Marathon Majors-to-be except New York, and two of the three Japanese men to have run 2:06 and all three women to have run 2:19 did it outside Japan. Whatever the extent to which things did turn inward along the way, the last few years have seen an uptick in Japanese runners going farther afield and running better there than any others before them.

The lists above and below show the fastest times run by Japanese athletes in different countries to 2:20:00 for men and 2:45:00 for women. Japanese men have run sub-2:20 marathons in 37 countries around the world including Japan, with Japanese women having cleared 2:45 in 33 countries including at home. Breaking it down by IAAF label times, more Japanese men have run label standard times abroad, but women have typically performed at a higher label…