Skip to main content

Temporary Track Still Planned for New Olympic Stadium - "No Land Nearby"

http://www.nikkansports.com/general/news/1522682.html

translated by Brett Larner

Despite strong demands from JAAF officials for a permanent sub-track to be included in forthcoming revised plans for the New National Stadium that will be the flagship venue of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, on Aug. 13 it was confirmed that only a temporary sub-track will be built.

On July 29 JAAF officials including chairman Hiroshi Yokokawa and executive board member Naoko Takahashi visited Olympic Games Committee executive Toshiaki Endo to confirm the status of the plans for a sub-track and stress the importance of a permanent one from a former athlete's point of view.  However, multiple government officials told them that there were no plans for a permanent sub-track, saying, "There is no land nearby [for a permanent sub-track], so there is no chance but to stick with the original plans for a temporary sub-track."

Without a permanent sub-track the new stadium will not be able to be used to host either international events like the World Championships or national-level events like the National Sports Festival, National High School Championships and National Junior High School Championships.  Takahashi commented, "Not being able to hold the National Sports Festival or High School Nationals after the Olympics is a fatal mistake."

On Aug. 14 the government is hosting a ministerial meeting chaired by Endo to finalize the essential policies for the revised New National Stadium plans.  Although the sub-track is not yet referred to as "temporary" therein, it is expected to be labeled as such in the revised construction budget plans to be released later this month.  The temporary track is likely to be built inside the grounds of a nearby softball facility.

Translator's note: Largely as a consequence of the major running boom in Japan since 2007 brought about by the Tokyo Marathon, itself originally conceived of as a way to demonstrate that Tokyo was competent to host a modern Olympics, there is a major shortage of public track facilities in central Tokyo.  The lone 8-lane, 400 m track regularly accessible to the public, Shibuya's Oda Field, has undergone increasingly frequent resurfacing due to the increased traffic and the resulting wear-and-tear and is said to be scheduled to be closed for another round of resurfacing from this October through next March, leaving the countless running clubs and independents from amateur to pro, junior high school to corporate national champions, who use it with few to no options for relocating their regular workouts.  Beyond the JAAF's apparent concern exclusively about the consequences for its ability to stage elite events, with such enormous demand for more public facilities it is absolutely irresponsible for the Tokyo Olympic Committee to not take the steps necessary to ensure that the healthy fitness-oriented lifestyle enjoyed by countless thousands of Tokyo residents remains as a key legacy of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Comments

TokyoRacer said…
Oh no, they're closing our track for six months??!! I hope some of the clubs start organizing a protest about that. It shouldn't take six months, for crissake.
That is the ONLY track available free to the public in Tokyo, and it's not even available every day.
A perfect time to showcase the beauty of Ajinomoto and/or Fuchu venues:) Hope it gets sorted or you'll need to go old school and find off track alternatives. Best, Mike

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…