Tokyo, November 2: Tokyo has eventually accepted the International Olympic Committee's decision to move the marathon and race-walking events of the 2020 Games to Sapporo from the Japanese capital.
The IOC announced last month that the marathon would be moved to the northern Japanese city of Sapporo due to concerns over Tokyo's summer heat. Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has been a strong critic of the move and described the IOC decision as "unprecedented" earlier this week. Tokyo 2020 Olympics Qualifiers: Amit Panghal Working on Power and Endurance With Eye on Olympic Medal.
On the final day of the IOC coordination commission visit led by John Coates, a four-party working group meeting took place Friday, during which the next steps in moving the marathon and race walk events to Sapporo were discussed.
"Though we still do not agree, we will not obstruct the decision made by the IOC, which has the authority to have the final say," Koike said, speaking through an interpreter after the talks with the IOC, reports Xinhua news agency. Cotes welcomed Koike's statement as well as assent from the 2020 organizers.
"We thank the four-party working group for productive discussions and cooperation in the change of venue for the marathon and race walk, in order to safeguard the health of the athletes. We look forward to moving forward as a united team, something which has successfully characterised these Olympic Games to date," he said.
"On behalf of the IOC, we also want to express our sincere appreciation to the people of Tokyo. We can fully understand the concerns and disappointment of Tokyoites, who are so enthusiastic and involved in these Olympic Games.
"It is for this reason that we have proposed to organize, together with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG), an 'Olympic Celebration marathon' after the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It will be an opportunity to say thank you and celebrate the outstanding contribution of the TMG and the people of Tokyo to the success of the Olympic and Paralympic Games."
The four-party working group also agreed that Tokyo will not bear the costs for the venue change and the IOC will not move any other events out of Tokyo, Coates said.