The Tokyo metropolitan government Friday accepted a proposal to move the 2020 Summer Olympics’ marathon and race walk events to Sapporo from the capital to avoid summer heat, according to Jiji Press. The development led to a final decision on the venue change at a meeting in Tokyo of the International Olympic Committee, the metropolitan government, the Tokyo Games organizing committee and the Japanese government.
Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike described the latest move as a “decision without consent.” She said, “There is no change in my view that holding [the marathon and race walk events] in Tokyo is the best.”
“I can’t agree with the IOC’s decision, but I wouldn’t block the decision of the IOC, which has the final say,” Koike said.
She accepted the venue change in order to prevent prolonged discussions from affecting preparations for the 2020 Games, although she was opposed to the plan, sources familiar with her thinking said. Participants in Friday’s meeting agreed that the metropolitan government will not have to shoulder any additional costs related to the venue change.
The IOC and the Tokyo Games organizing committee will hold talks with the Sapporo city and Hokkaido prefectural governments on the sharing of the additional costs. In addition to Koike, the participants included John Coates, chairman of the IOC’s Coordination Commission for the 2020 Games, Yoshiro Mori, chairman of the Tokyo Games organizing committee, and Seiko Hashimoto, Japanese minister for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
In the meeting, they confirmed that the IOC has the authority to move Olympic event venues. They also agreed not to change the venues of other 2020 Games events.
Koike said that she has accepted a proposal from IOC President Thomas Bach to hold a “celebration marathon” using the marathon course that has already been set up in Tokyo after the Olympics and Paralympics are over.
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