The Chairman of IOC's Coordination Commission, John Coates. (Image via The New Daily)

IOC: The change of venue for men's marathon is final

The Chairman of the Coordination Commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), John Coates, said on Friday that the change of venue for men’s marathons for the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics is already final.

The decision, made in early October, saw that the venue will be changed from Tokyo to Sapporo, Hokkaido, North Japan. However, the decision was made without informing both the officials of Tokyo and Sapporo. The Governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike, referred to the decision as “a bolt from the blue”.

The decision was inspired by the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships held in Doha from 27 September to 6 October. Due to the scorching heat in Doha reaching up to 38°C, many athletes had to be medically treated.

Coates pointed out that the condition in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo will be similar as it was in Doha. Therefore, with the “health and welfare” of these athletes in IOC’s consideration, IOC had to move the venue to a breezier place.

On the same day, Coates also met Koike, who once reacted to the news with a “great disappointment”. Coates said that he apologized to Koike, insisting that the decision is already final even though the city officials of Tokyo want to hold the event in the capital of Japan desperately.

Tokyo did not retreat without a fight. The city officials offered options such as starting the men’s marathon at 3.00 a.m. However, Coates did not agree with the option as it was considered impractical and it would be difficult to film in the dark.

Koike did not buy it. She still insisted that the reason was illogical, and the city is considering to submit counter-proposals. Once, she quipped that the IOC should hold the “festival of peace” in norther territory, controlled by Russia.