Skip to main content

The New Olympic Stadium Plans Must Include a Permanent Sub-Track

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2015/07/21/kiji/K20150721010773500.html

an editorial by Kenji Fujiyama
translated by Brett Larner

With a crack of the whip from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the controversial plans for the 2020 Olympic Stadium that have generated a storm of criticism have gone back to the drawing board.  Underlying Abe's decision, the news that the project's wasteful $2 billion+ USD price tag has disappeared is glad tidings indeed.  But the price was not the only problem with the plans.

Official JAAF-certified athletics facilities are classified into four categories, with the World Championships and other major international events requiring the highest level facilities within that categorization.  Absolutely essential for a facility to receive the highest level of certification is the presence of an auxiliary track, known as a sub-track.  With no sub-track included in the plans for the 2020 Olympic Stadium, after the Olympics the JAAF would be unable to use it to stage major events like the World Championships let alone national-level events like the National Sports Festival or National High School Championships.

This problem has been pointed out by numerous members of the Japanese athletics industry from the early stages.  But with decision makers showing a reluctance to allocate land and budget, plans instead opted for the construction of a temporary sub-track nearby with the rationalization being that the previous National Stadium did not have a permanent sub-track, temporary sub-tracks having been built for the 1964 Olympics and 1991 World Championships. 

The requirement for a sub-track is not a luxury but a necessity.  Because there are a large number of events in athletics, track events, field events and throws all go on at the same time.  Add in athletes warming up for their upcoming events and you have an overflow situation.  A sub-track is necessary to prevent accidents.  In all the Olympics and World Championships I have covered around the world, I have never seen a stadium without permanent sub-track facilities.

The Olympics may have the budget to build a temporary sub-track, but there is no way that other events like the National Sports Festival or National High School Championships could afford to do the same.  The main causes of the colossal cost of the Olympic Stadium plan are its bow-like structure (keel arch) and the enormous amount budgeted toward features other than its function as a stadium, including VIP rooms, meeting rooms, exhibition halls and restaurants.  With heavy duty cost reduction a major theme, it is absolutely essential that the new plans include a permanent sub-track.

Comments

TokyoRacer said…
Even the Ajinomoto Stadium in Fuchu has a sub-track. In fact, it's a beautiful track, with a grandstand, available for use by anyone for almost nothing - 100 or so yen. In fact...they should just have the Olympic track & field events at Ajinomoto! They are already building other facilites near the sub-track for other Olympic events.
TokyoRacer said…
Ajinomoto, by the way, is the home ground of Tokyo FC. It's a little ways from central Tokyo, but not too far.
Anyway, it's a moot point - they're not going to have the T&F there.

Most-Read This Week

Kazami Breaks 100 km World Record at Lake Saroma

Running on the same course where Japan's Takahiro Sunada set the road 100 km world record of 6:13:33 twenty years ago, 2:17:23 marathoner Nao Kazamibested a deep and competitive field to win the Lake Saroma 100 km Ultramarathon in a world record 6:09:14.

Part of a front group of at least five that went through the marathon split in 2:33:36, on pace for 6:04:01, Kazami lost touch with the lead as rivals Koji Hayasaka and Takehiko Gyoba surged just before halfway to open a roughly 30 second lead that lasted until nearly 75 km. But in the last quarter of the race Kazami, a graduate of Hakone Ekiden powerhouse Komazawa University, was the only one who could sustain anything close to the early pace, overtaking Hayasaka and Gyoba before pulling away to open a lead of over 11 minutes. Kazami's mark took more than 4 minutes off the world record, and he also bettered the 100 km track world record of 6:10:20 set in 1978 well before he was born by the late Don Ritchie.
Trying to stay wi…

Tanaka and Hashioka Win Gold - World U20 Championships Day Two Japanese Results

Working together to execute an aggressive frontrunning team strategy born from failure two years ago in Bydgoszcz, 2018 Asian U20 3000 m gold medalist Nozomi Tanaka and 2018 Asian Junior Cross Country gold medalist Yuna Wada opened a massive lead over the African Junior Cross Country medalist Ethiopian duo of Meselu Berhe and Tsige Gebreselama in the early going of the Tampere World U20 Championships women's 3000 m. Tanaka took the lead from the gun before Wada went out front at 200 m to set a fast pace. Through splits of 3:00 and 3:03 for the first 2000 m, Tanaka kicked hard from 300 m out to close with a 2:51 for Japan's first-ever gold medal in the event, winning in a PB of 8:54.01.

Berhe and Gebreselama caught Wada on the back corner but weren't even close to matching Tanaka, taking 2nd and 3rd in PBs just under the 9-minute mark. Wada just held off Kenyan Jenali Jemutai Yego for 4th in 9:00.50, seeming happy in post-race interviews to have helped a teammate score gol…

Kamulu Runs 10000 m World Lead, Ahn Breaks Korean National Record, Tamura Clears 28 Minutes, Niiya Back on Track in Fukagawa

National records fell for the third meet in a row in the four-part Hokuren Distance Challenge series Wednesday in Fukagawa, Hokkaido. Longtime Japan resident Pauline Kamulu (Route Inn Hotels) had a shockingly good run in the women's 10000 m A-heat, following up her 1:06:56 bronze medal run at the Valencia World Half Marathon Championships by lopping over a minute off her 10000 m best with a 2018 world-leading time of 30:41.85.

Kamulu lapped the entire field, her nearest competitor Honami Maeda (Tenmaya) returning from a 2:23:46 marathon PB in Osaka in January to take 30 seconds off her own best in 32:13.87. Further back, Seul Ki Ahn broke the South Korean national record set 13 years ago in Fukagawa with a new mark of 32:33.61. Ahn's NR followed the 2:25:41 NR set by Do Yeon Kim at the Seoul International Marathon in March, a miniature renaissance in South Korea women's distance running.

The men's 10000 m A-heat was also decently fast, Andrew Lorot (Subaru) leading fo…