TOKYO (REUTERS) - The Olympic marathon and race walking events during Tokyo 2020 will be moved to Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido from the capital due to concerns about heat, the International Olympic Committee said on Wednesday (Oct 16).
"Athletes' health and well-being are always at the heart of our concerns," IOC president Thomas Bach said in a statement.
"The new far-reaching proposals to move the marathon and race walking events show how seriously we take such concerns."
Organisers of next year's Tokyo Olympics had been looking for ways to battle heat. Suffocating humidity and high temperatures during the recent world athletics championships in Doha had also prompted athletes and officials to discuss weather conditions.
Temperatures in Tokyo during July and August, when the city hosts the Olympic and Paralympic Games, commonly exceed 30 deg C, with high humidity adding to the discomfort.
Sapporo temperatures during the period are as much as 5 deg C to 6 deg C cooler during the day than in Tokyo, the committee said.