July 4, 2020

The Tokyo Games do not want to repeat the embarrassment of the World Athletics Championships in Doha

The images were tough at the World Athletics World Championship in Doha last October: athletes staggering, liters of water drunk and thrown on the body … The female marathon, which is already a hard test in itself, began 66 and 28 no They reached the end. 40 percent The 50 kilometer march, which is a crusher in any condition, became something even worse: García Bragado, Spanish hero, eighth with 49 years, prepared 14 liters of liquid and he had none left. The heat above 30 degrees of the emirate and, above all, the humidity, became undesirable protagonists. And next August there are Olympic Games in Tokyo, where conditions could be similar. It is already official: the International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed that it moves the tests of the capital to Sapporo, 800 kilometers further north, where the temperature drops eight or nine degrees (if it is around 35 to 26) and humidity does not reaches the overwhelming 90% of Tokyo.

The measure against heat does not remain only in the change of venue. Also some schedules and dates will be altered. Thus, both the men's marathon (August 9) and the women's marathon (August 8) will begin at 7 am, the 50 kilometers march (August 7) ​​at 5:30 and the 20 kilometers boys march (6 of August) and those of girls (August 7) ​​at 16:30. "The health and well-being of athletes are always at the center of our concerns, and the decision to move marathon and march events to Sapporo shows how seriously we take it," says the President of the IOC Athletes Commission Kirsty Coventry "As well we want the Olympic Games to be the place where athletes can give their best, and this new place guarantees that they will have the conditions to do it, ”he adds.

Precisely for this reason the decision to change the headquarters has not fallen badly in part of the Spanish team. The Doha experience was, in general, negative for national athletes, especially in the 20-kilometer men's march, with three medal contenders who suffocated. Under more normal conditions, they may perform more at their level. «It is a pity not to be in Tokyo and the Olympic Village … But it is for the good of the athletes. In addition, Sapporo will focus on making a great show, ”thinks José Antonio Quintana, who trains the group of marchers in Madrid. “I think the decision in general is positive. Because any decision intended for sports, or at least the World Health Organization allows, is a positive thing. In Doha the competition was distorted by a heat that is too much, there if it were not because there is air conditioning the human being would not live, and go there to leave your skin to a place where it is already difficult to be still … And do not forget that it will continue to be hot because it is Japan, we are not so far away, but it is a normal heat, which can be done in many countries when it is summer, the heat it was in Barcelona, ​​for example, ”says Diego Garcia, one of the pupils of Quintana, runner-up of Europe of 20 kilometers march and one of those who competed against the elements in Qatar.

The preparation will be altered in a certain way. Fearing Doha, last season all kinds of measures were taken: the athletes prepared themselves in army chambers that simulated the conditions, rallied in Qatar … But it didn't work out. "What happened must help us not to make the same mistakes," says Quintana.

. (tagsToTranslate) Olympic Games (t) Athletics

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