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Tuning into the 10,000 meters final at the World Championships was when the 36-year-old first realized he had unfinished business with the track, despite his four Olympic gold medals and six world titles.
“Watching Doha, I was nervous and agitated,” he recalled. “I felt like I was there. My heart was pounding and I was looking at that race thinking, ‘I know I could do it, I want to do it’, and the Olympics is just round the corner. I knew from that point that I’d love to go back and race that.
“As an athlete it’s important if you’re still hungry and you want it, you train for it, you push yourself to get it. If you’re not hungry, you don’t want it as much, then it’s impossible to get it. And right now I have a great hunger for the track.”
So adamant was Farah about the switch that his coach, Gary Lough, who is continuing to oversee his track ambitions, did not even attempt to talk him round. As Farah puts it: “Gary knew from that point that nothing else mattered.”
So accustomed was Farah to winning on the track that his stab at the marathon has been frustrating. There have been notable highs — winning in Chicago in 2018 and breaking the European record — but too often he has been found wanting to his East African rivals and admitted to struggling to rectify wrongs on the road, such are the rigors of the event.
“If a track race goes wrong, you know what went wrong, whether it’s your endurance or speed or whatever, you can work it out and then focus on it in training,” he said. “Then you race again in two weeks’ time and you do something about it. With the marathon, it’s sixth months. Take Chicago. I got injured beforehand, had a little niggle and the race was a disaster really. Having run so many track races in the past and with Tokyo around the corner, you go for what you knew best.”
It helps that the 10,000m has not moved on monstrously in his absence, Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei winning the world title in a time just a second quicker than Farah’s track swansong of the same distance at the preceding championships in 2017.
“There’s no one out there that has you saying ‘Oh, my God’ but in the marathon it’s different,” he said with a nod not just to the distance’s dominant force in Eliud Kipchoge but his wider rivals. “My understanding is I can’t finish in the top three in Tokyo with 2:05.”
But Farah will be the oldest man in history to run in a 10,000m final at the Olympics, let alone have aspirations to win a fifth Olympic gold. But, for him, it is the only target in his eyes. “It’s gold or nothing,” he said. “No one’s ever done that — someone that old — and that’s history. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it and work hard. I’m confident, otherwise I wouldn’t enter, but I know I’ve a lot of work to do. I can’t sit here saying, ‘It’s January and all’s good’. It’s going to be really hard. People will be saying, ‘Mo’ll win it’ but it doesn’t work like that.”(01/14/2020) ⚡AMP
Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, from July 24 to August 9, 2020. The Games in 1964 radically transformed the country. According to the organizers of the event in 2020, the Games of the XXXII Olympiad of the modern era will be “the most innovative...more...
Last November, the 26-year-old won the men’s New York City Marathon for the second time in three years after clocking 2:08:13.
“My plan this year is to go to the Tokyo Olympics Games because the only medal lacking in my cabinet is an Olympic medal,” Kamworor said.
The athlete, who trains at the Global Sports Communication camp in Kaptagat, Elgeyo-Marakwet County alongside his mentor and World Marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge, said he has stepped up preparations.
Under the guidance of their coach Patrick Sang, Kamworor and Kipchoge have become two of the best marathoners in the world. Kamworor has been on the medal podium for each of the four New York City marathons he has run.
“I am working hard this time round to make sure that I go to the Olympics because I am focused on getting a medal,” the athlete said.
Kamworor was speaking to the press on Thursday at Kipsinende Primary School in Uasin Gishu County where he led fellow athletes in awarding the best 2019 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) performers in the school.
He was accompanied by Laban Korir (2014 Toronto Waterfront Marathon), Philemon Rono (2018 Toronto Waterfront Marathon winner), Sally Chepyego (former World Half Marathon champion), Hyvin Kiyeng (former world 3,000m steeplechase champion) and Olympic 1,500m champion Faith Kipyegon.(01/10/2020) ⚡AMP
Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, from July 24 to August 9, 2020. The Games in 1964 radically transformed the country. According to the organizers of the event in 2020, the Games of the XXXII Olympiad of the modern era will be “the most innovative...more...
"My shed could help me win a marathon medal at the Tokyo Olympics," says Callum Hawkins.
Britain's Callum Hawkins explains how a garden shed is helping him to win a medal in the marathon at the Tokyo Olympics
Elite athletes spend years fine-tuning their bodies in preparation for an Olympic Games with elaborate training and diet plans. But sometimes it's best to go back to basics. Training in your garden shed with heaters kind of basic.
That's according to Scottish marathon runner Callum Hawkins, who is doing everything possible to prepare his body for the hot and humid conditions in Japan this summer.
"We had a couple of bad winters where sometimes it was too icy to go out and get good quality sessions," Hawkins told Sky Sports News.
"So we thought we'd put up a shed with a treadmill to help me train. We did a bit in the heat chamber and thought we could replicate it instead."
The warm weather is expected to be a big talking point at Tokyo, where temperatures regularly reach 35 Celsius (95F) and humidity hits 80 per cent in summer. The Olympic marathon and race walk events have already been moved more than 500 miles north from Tokyo to Sapporo to reduce the impact of heat on the athletes.
Regardless of the location, the 27-year-old from Elderslie is planning for all eventualities. Hawkins is confident he will be able to deal with the heat in Tokyo
"Looking at the history of Sapporo weather, I don't think it will make too much of a difference - it's been similar to Tokyo. I've just got to go out there, I'll be on the start line and give it 100 per cent," he said.
"It can be pretty monotonous in the shed and the crippling heat can be quite tough. But it's just about getting through it and that's what makes champions."
A champion is what Hawkins hopes to become in Tokyo, improving on the ninth place he achieved at his debut Games at Rio 2016.
Since then, he has come agonisingly close to a podium finish on more than one occasion.
He finished fourth at the 2017 World Athletics Championships in London and just a few months ago at the World Championships in Doha, he missed out on a medal by just six seconds.
"I still talk to myself if I could have done more or not taught myself a bit more," he said. "But it's about passion, it's about moving on, it's about Tokyo from here on in.
"I try not to let it get me down and try not to let it discourage me, but I think I am a little bit disappointed and won't ever quite get over it unless I win a medal at Tokyo."
Despite missing out on a medal, Hawkins' performance in the extreme heat and humidity in Doha last October is all the more remarkable.
What keeps him motivated for the Olympics, he says, is the fact he's no stranger to the impact of heat exhaustion on an endurance runner.
At the 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast in Australia, Hawkins was leading the race until severe dehydration caused him to collapse with just two kilometres to go.
Hawkins was given assistance after collapsing during the 2018 Commonwealth Games. "A lot of people thought I might not come back from it but I knew myself I would. I've come back from worse," he said.
"I feel very experienced. I've had both scenarios - one where it's gone wrong and one where it went well so I've managed to tweak enough to make sure I'll be in the best condition I can on the day."I think getting a medal is definitely up there. With the conditions and the fact it is a championship marathon, anything is up for grabs."
With Sir Mo Farah returning to the track instead of taking on the marathon at Tokyo, Team GB's chances of a medal in the men's race now lie with Hawkins and he is leaving nothing to chance.(01/09/2020) ⚡AMP
Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, from July 24 to August 9, 2020. The Games in 1964 radically transformed the country. According to the organizers of the event in 2020, the Games of the XXXII Olympiad of the modern era will be “the most innovative...more...
As Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon gears towards defending her Olympic title at this year’s Summer Games in Tokyo, Japan, she is ready for the prospect of facing off with double world champion Sifan Hassan.
The pair clashed at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar with the in-form Hassan carrying the day as Kipyegon settled for silver.
As the clock ticks towards this year’s Olympic Games slated for July 24-August 9 at the Japanese capital, Kipyegon is optimistic of defending her title she bagged four years ago in Rio, Brazil.
“Yes, we are in an Olympic season and that is my main goal this year. I have already resumed my build up exercises to make sure that I make the team because everyone is also eyeing the tickets to Tokyo,” said Kipyegon.
Kipyegon hailed the Ethiopian-born Dutch Hassan while speaking on the possibility of renewing their rivalry again this year.
“I normally prefer not to talk about somebody else but it is true that she (Hassan) was on form (last year) having took part in many races and also notching the world record over the mile.
“I knew she was very strong ahead of the World Championships and I congratulate her. I know we shall meet again this year and let’s wait and see what happens (laughs),” said the soft-spoken athlete.
Prior to the Worlds, Kipyegon was just a few months into training after returning from maternity leave and the Keringet-born athlete is hoping to enjoy more success this year with early preparations.
“For sure I expect this year to be different from 2019 because I had a very short time to prepare for World Championships having come back from maternity break. I know that if I build up well towards Tokyo then I will be much stronger,” she said.
After the World Championships, the 25-year-old shifted her training base from Keringet in Nakuru County to the famous Global Sports Communication camp in Kaptagat where she now joins fellow world beaters including world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge and world half marathon record holder Geoffrey Kamworor among others.
“I am honoured to train at Kaptagat with the likes of Kipchoge (Eliud), Kamworor (Geoffrey) and Kiyeng (Hyvin). I also thank my coach Patrick Sang for the guidance he has offered me since I joined the camp,” said Kipyegon.(01/06/2020) ⚡AMP
Japan Airlines will give away up to 50,000 domestic return tickets to foreign nationals who visit the country during the time of next year's Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
The seats will be offered as part of a campaign designed to entice those who travel to Japan for the Games to visit other areas of the nation.
According to Japan Airlines, a supporting partner of Tokyo 2020, its Win a Trip initiative will allow visitors to Japan to "experience regional attractions".
The campaign is due to begin in February, with further details expected to be released in the middle of next month.
Japan Airlines said passengers will be able to fly for free from Haneda Airport in Tokyo to select local destinations.
The campaign will cover overseas members of Japan Airlines' mileage programme who will stay in Japan during the July-September period.
The Olympic Games in the Japanese capital run from July 24 to August 9, before the Paralympics are held from August 25 to September 6.
The scheme is part of an attempt to use Tokyo hosting the Olympics and Paralympics to boost tourism in Japan.
Haneda and Narita airports are both expected to add more international flights to cope with the influx of visitors to Japan for the Games.
Around 31 million visitors were reported to have visited Japan last year, while 600,000 overseas visitors are set to arrive for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.(01/04/2020) ⚡AMP
Mario, the famous plumber who stars in numerous Nintendo games, is in line to take "center stage" with organizers hoping to deliver a message of peace.
At Rio 2016, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe dressed up as Mario in the handover segment of the Closing Ceremony.
Other Japanese characters including Hello Kitty, robotic cat Doraemon and footballer Captain Tsubasa also appeared with Tokyo 2020 expected to again highlight Japan's famous cartoon industry.
According to Kyodo News, one idea is for rival characters to shake hands in line with the Olympic Truce.
The message of peace could also be displayed by the release of paper doves.
People riding in flying cars might be used to highlight Japanese innovation, meanwhile.
This could also see hydrogen, a next-generation energy source, used as the fuel which lights the Olympic cauldron.
In what would be another example of organizers using the Games to promote the disaster-hit region of Fukushima, a plant from the prefecture may produce the hyrdrogen.
Around 16,000 people died after an earthquake and tsunami caused an accident at a nuclear power plant there in 2011.
The Japanese leg of the Olympic Torch Relay will begin in Fukushima with some using the term "Reconstruction Olympics".
Baseball and softball matches will also be held there, while flowers grown in areas affected by the earthquake will be used in bouquets for medal winners.
Japan's fight against natural disasters could also be a theme of the Olympic Opening Ceremony, which will be held at Tokyo's New National Stadium on July 24.
Mansai Nomura, a famous Japanese actor, is the creative director of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for both the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
He has been tipped to coordinate the events together as a "four-part series", instead of them being separate entities.(01/03/2020) ⚡AMP
World 1,500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot believes the return to action of his training mate Elijah Manangoi will propel the two to post fast times on the track even as they plot to attempt breaking the world record this year.
Cheruiyot had until last year been playing second fiddle to his training mate and friend Manangoi.
However, a hamstring injury ruled out Manangoi from defending his title in Doha, setting the stage for Cheruiyot to climb to the top and reign supreme on the global stage.
Now Cheruiyot is dreaming of shuttering the 3:26.00 world record set by legendary Moroccan middle-distance runner Hicham El Guerrouj, which has been unchallenged for the last two decades.
“The victory I earned in the Doha World Championships last October meant a lot to me because it (gold) was something I had yearned for the past four years.
“I know the record has been there for long and Kenyan athletes have been top of the leaderboard in fast times in the race so, it would be nice if we can work together to attempt breaking it.
“The focus should be on how to train and for sure the record. What I know is it will go down at some time,” Cheruiyot said on Tuesday in Kericho.
But of greater concern to Cheruiyot going into the new season in 2020 will be being able to prove to the world that he is his own man and can emerge from the shadows of his training mate Manangoi to stage his own contest and win.
That will be at the Tokyo Olympic Games. “Of course every athlete has his focus on the Olympic Games. A win at this stage will go a long way in cementing my name among Kenya’s best athletes. For now, my focus is to make the team for the Olympic Games and try to win a medal,” Cheruiyot added.
Kenya hopes a new breed of young talented runners will end their wait for gold at the 10k race at the Olympic Games.
For long Ethiopian runners and Britain's Mo Farah have reigned supreme in the ultimate track distance as Kenya played catch up.
However, head coach Julius Kirwa believes the country might have turned over a new chapter as its production chain has churned out top stars that are keen to take over the baton and dominate in Tokyo.
Kirwa said the emergence of young versatile distance-running talent out of East Africa is nothing new. However, one of the stars in question is the World bronze medalist Rhonex Kipruto, who leads the way among the current generation.
"He has shown time and again that he has the talent. His time will certainly peak in 2020 and I believe the Olympic Games is the ultimate stage for any athlete to prove their excellence in the competition of their choice," said Kirwa on Thursday in Nairobi.
Kipruto emerged on the international scene in 2018 when he won the world under-20 title in 10,000m in Tampere, Finland by a margin of almost 20 seconds, he backed this up by setting a world-leading 26:46 for 10km on the road in Prague.
Kipruto, who turned 20 in October, won the 10,000m in 26:50.16 in Stockholm Diamond League and then came close to that mark to take world bronze in Doha.
But ahead of the 2020 season, Kipruto is focused on discipline and hard work to walk in the steps of his mentor and World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge.
"I know it is the Olympic year in Tokyo, but the main thing should be discipline and hard work, which will guide me to be what I want to live like Eliud," said Kipruto.
Kipruto's coach Ian Kiprono is hopeful his athlete will weather the storm and climb up from bronze to gold in Tokyo.
"He needs to get rooted in doing his homework, training hard and remaining disciplined. The results will always come in," said coach Kiprono.
"The great Kenyan runners all have an amazing simplicity about themselves. That's another trait I look for in an athlete. A calmness, not forgetting where they came from," he added.(01/02/2020) ⚡AMP
Callum is hopeful that his brother, Derek, can join him for the Tokyo Olympics next summer, repeating the feat of 2016 which saw them both compete for Britain in the marathon in Rio.
It was announced last week that Callum has already been pre-selected for the 2020 Olympics, becoming one of the first GB athletes to secure their seat on the plane to Japan. And he firmly believes his brother is capable of claiming one of the remaining two marathon spots, with things being made slightly easier following the announcement earlier this year from four-time Olympic track medallist Mo Farah that he will concentrate on the 10,000m. This is after his decision in 2017 to retire from the track and concentrate on the road.
The Kilbarchan AAC duo put in impressive showings at Rio 2016, with Callum having a superb run to finish in ninth place, while Derek overcame a build-up severely afflicted by injury to finish just 114th.
The London Marathon in April is the ‘trial race’ for the Olympics, with the British Athletics men’s standard for Japan 2 hours 11 minutes 30 seconds. This means Derek must set a new personal best if he is to make it to his second Olympics, with his best to date being 2 hours 12 minutes 49 seconds, which he clocked in Frankfurt in October.
“There are slots available now at London and hopefully Derek can make it,” said Callum, who believes his older brother is capable of dipping under the British qualifying time.
“He ran a PB in Frankfurt and I think he had a bit more to come that day.
"So we will see how that goes with him and a couple of other Brits come London. I’d love him to be there. We were both selected for Rio in 2016 but at that time he had a real struggle with injury in the last few months and it was all about just making the start-line.
"It would be a nice achievement for two brothers to make it twice to the Olympics in the marathon."
Callum, fourth in the last two World champs events in London and in Doha, feels the competition in Sapporo will be even harder come next August.
"I’m not in any doubt that the level of competition in Japan will be even tougher than Doha," the 27-year-old said.
"That’s just the way I feel because I’m sure the very fact it is the Olympics will motivate people even more and there will be greater depth to the top 10 or the top 20 or whatever. Making the top 10 again will be really tough and the conditions could be difficult, too, even though they’ve moved it.
"I won’t have any fear, though. I will go out there feeling no pressure and, assuming everything has gone well in the build-up, I will really go for it. With a marathon, it comes down to how you cope and how you feel on the day."
If his current plan for next year remains unchanged, he could be making a trip east even before the main event, with a half marathon in Japan on the radar for family Hawkins.
"I’ve been out to Japan before," Callum recalled.
"I was due to run the Fukuoka Marathon at the end of 2018 but a hamstring injury prevented that, but we went on the trip anyway and got an idea of the place.
"We’re firming up the race-plan at the moment but one of the half marathons could be over in Japan, although not at the Olympic venue."(12/29/2019) ⚡AMP
Running machine Stewart McSweyn is eyeing Tokyo Olympics glory after becoming the first man in more than two decades to win a hat-trick of Zatopek 10,000m titles.
The 24-year-old Tasmanian broke a national record that had stood for eight years in Melbourne on Saturday night, powering through the final lap on his own before saluting the crowd with three raised fingers as he crossed the line in 27 minutes and 23.80 seconds.
His time was more than one second faster than Ben St Lawrence's previous Australian-best mark of 27:24:95, set in 2011.
McSweyn also capped his massive year on a personal level by shaving more than 27 seconds off his own personal best time and cracking the Olympic qualifying standard in the process.
The versatile and rangy Kind Islander has also qualified for the 1500m and 5000m at Tokyo 2020 and now faces a big decision about which events he will contest.
"I'm kind of leaving it all open," McSweyn said.
"I'm just going to wait and see what I think is my best chance because I was in the (5000m) final in Doha (at the 2019 World Athletics Championships) and I want to go further than that next year.
"I want to try and be the guy who competes for medals."
Training partners Brett Robinson and Jordan Williamsz set the pace for McSweyn early and he had Queensland's Patrick Tiernan for company until the final lap, when he kicked into another gear and left his rival behind.
"To run that fast was probably a bit of a surprise but I think we owe a lot to Pat Tiernan for setting up that race," McSweyn said.
"What he was able to do after the pacemakers dropped out was pretty amazing.
"I know I was hurting the last 10 minutes and I was hanging on for dear life, so I think half the credit definitely goes to Pat for his run."
McSweyn is now within reach of matching Australian legend Steve Moneghetti's record of four consecutive Zatopek titles, claimed from 1989-92.
Earlier, dual Olympian Genevieve Gregson revealed she would target a spot in the 10,000m event at Tokyo after claiming her first Zatopek crown.
The 30-year-old Queenslander has already qualified for the 3000m steeplechase and will attempt to combine the two events.
Gregson won the Zatopek in 32:47:83, ahead of Canada's Andrea Seccafien (32:48.30), and would need to shave almost one minute and 23 seconds off her time to reach the Olympic standard.
"The goal was to win here, get my auto spot and now chase the time," Gregson said.(12/28/2019) ⚡AMP
With around 10 million visitors expected for next year’s Games, the Nikkei Asian Review has reported that the Japanese capital is still facing a significant shortage of available hotel rooms.
Meanwhile the Jiji Press has quoted a recent estimate by the major Japanese travel agency JTB Corp that the number of visitors in 2020 will increase by 7.9 per cent to 34.3 million.
JTB claim that South Korean visitors to Japan will rise by around 15 per cent from 2019 following an improvement in bilateral ties.
Visitors from China and Southeast Asian countries are also projected to increase.
"Tokyo's hospitality industry has taken care of the accommodation for the estimated 11,000 athletes expected to compete in 33 events at the Games,” the travel.com reported.
Around 46,000 other suites are already reserved for Olympic officials and global dignitaries.
But bookings in the rest of the city as well as neighbouring communities on Japan's main island of Honshu are reported to have already reached capacity.
Demand for hotel space shot up in 2018, when a record 31.8 million tourists visited Japan, nearly a nine per cent increase from the previous year.
In response to the scarcity, short-term housing prices for Airbnb rentals in the area have reportedly rocketed to more than $840 (£650/€760) per night.
Additionally, some luxury cruise liners have volunteered to stay in port to take on extra visitors for the duration of the Games.(12/27/2019) ⚡AMP
“I know that Tokyo is going to be exciting, it is going to be extremely big because you can see the number of people in the stadium now,” said Bolt.
Usain Bolt ran a lap at the new Olympic Stadium with one of the Olympic rings in his hand, marking the facility’s opening, saying it was an honour to be given the opportunity.
“I was happy and excited because I won’t get to compete so the fact that I got to run on the track was an experience in itself and as was said earlier it was wonderful that everybody could come together and compete. It’s for a great cause, it’s to show the world that we need to unite as one. So I was very honoured and very happy,” said Bolt.
The lap, done at a jog with other former Olympians carrying rings as well, reminded Bolt that coming out of retirement was not on.
“Iwon’t be competing. No. I’m actually in pain right now from the little run I just did,” he said.
Still, Bolt is an excited man because these Olympics will mark the first he has attended as a fan.
“I will be here watching them [Jamaican team to the Olympics] and cheering them on. This will be my first Olympics where I’m just here to watch, so I’m gonna really try to see everything and just try to enjoy it.”(12/23/2019) ⚡AMP
Throughout her career, Fraser-Pryce has mainly focused on the 100m at major championships, only ever winning one Olympic medal(silver) in the 200m at the 2012 London Olympics. But next year, Fraser-Pryce is setting her sights on achieving the gold in both events.
“[I will be] doubling up definitely. Last year [season] I really wanted to attempt the double but coach had other plans, so I just worked with that plan. He knows best so I just worked with his plan,” she told reporters in Jamaica.
The sprinter has never dipped below 22 seconds in the 200m, which is also another aim for her in the 2020 season.
“I am definitely looking forward to doing the 200m, especially because I believe in my heart that I can run 21s. It’s a big passion of mine so I am working really hard towards that. So hopefully, I will get to run some more 400m even though I don’t like it, but hopefully I will get it done for 2020,” she shared.
Last month, Fraser-Pryce announced that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be her fourth and final Olympic games. “I am always grateful for the opportunity to represent my country, my family, myself, but Tokyo is my last Olympics. I definitely know that,” she said.
The sprinter did not confirm whether she would completely retire from athletics, but hinted at the idea. “It doesn’t make me feel anything. I will miss the sport, but I will be OK. I don’t think it will be hard to retire. Athletics is just one thing I do.”(12/23/2019) ⚡AMP
The appeal must be filed with CAS by December 30, and the ban will not take effect until after CAS renders a decision.
Russia confirmed on Thursday that it intends to appeal the four-year ban it was served by WADA 10 days ago for non-compliance in the ongoing Russian doping scandal. The ban covers the 2020 Olympics, Paralympics and 2022 Winter Games, in addition to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, during which Russia may not participate or host, and its flag will not be flown. It also may not bid on the 2032 Olympic or Paralympic Games. According to a report by InsidetheGames.com, the appeal must be filed with the Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) by December 30.
The ban was imposed as a result of the data from the Moscow Laboratory, required as a condition of the September 2018 re-instatement after the previous three-year ban, was found to have been tampered with.
The ban does not prevent Russian athletes from participating as neutral athletes, provided they can prove they are clean and that their data was not among the manipulated data from the Moscow lab, something many commentators say makes the ban effectively meaningless.
It will not come into effect until after CAS reaches a ruling, which could take several months. (The Olympics opening ceremonies are scheduled for July 24.)
In a press conference held Thursday, Russian president Vladimir Putin said the ban “goes against common sense.”(12/23/2019) ⚡AMP
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics are expected to cost some 1.35 trillion yen ($12.6 billion US), organisers said Friday, unveiling a final budget showing increased revenue balancing out extra costs including countermeasures against heat.
However, officials admitted the budget does not yet include an estimated three billion yen for moving the marathon and race walk north to Sapporo, as they wrangle with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) over who bears the cost.
Revenues from domestic sponsorship and robust ticket sales have increased income by 30 billion yen, according to the fourth and final version of the Olympic budget.
This equals out a rise in forecast expenditure for items such as transport and security — as well as the heat-busting measures. The overall 1.35-trillion-yen budget for the Games is unchanged since the last version of the budget unveiled last year.
There is also a 27-billion-yen “contingency” pot to deal with possible emergencies such as natural disasters. Organisers are still negotiating with the IOC over the cost of moving the marathon to the northern city of Sapporo due to the expected heat in the Tokyo summer.
“This is an unprecedented matter so there are no procedures,” explained Gakuji Ito, executive director for planning and finance at Tokyo 2020. “We will go into it line-by-line and we will interact with the IOC on a daily basis,” he told reporters
Organisers have also unveiled a series of countermeasures against the heat and humidity, including water mist sprays and special heat-absorbing paint on roads — all of which cost money. The IOC, wary that the ballooning cost of hosting the Games is putting some cities off from bidding, has urged Tokyo to make even more cuts.
But Tokyo is also being squeezed in the other direction, with some voicing fears that the cuts could harm the athletes’ experience plus the “look” of the Games.(12/22/2019) ⚡AMP
Russia has been handed a four-year ban from all major sporting events by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada).
It means the Russia flag and anthem will not be allowed at events such as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics and football's 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
But athletes who can prove they are untainted by the doping scandal will be able to compete under a neutral flag.
Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev said the ban was part of "chronic anti-Russian hysteria".
"It is obvious that significant doping problems still exist in Russia, I mean our sporting community," he said. "This is impossible to deny.
"But on the other hand the fact that all these decisions are repeated, often affecting athletes who have already been punished in one way or another, not to mention some other points - of course this makes one think that this is part of anti-Russian hysteria which has become chronic."
Russian president Vladimir Putin said the country had grounds to appeal against the decision.
Wada's executive committee made the unanimous decision to impose the ban on Russia in a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, recently.
It comes after Russia's Anti Doping Agency (Rusada) was declared non-compliant for manipulating laboratory data handed over to investigators in January 2019.
It had to hand over data to Wada as a condition of its controversial reinstatement in 2018 after a three-year suspension for its vast state-sponsored doping scandal.
Wada president Sir Craig Reedie said the decision showed its "determination to act resolutely in the face of the Russian doping crisis".
He added: "For too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport. The blatant breach by the Russian authorities of Rusada's reinstatement conditions demanded a robust response.
"That is exactly what has been delivered.
"Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and rejoin the global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and of the integrity of sport, but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial."
But Wada vice-president Linda Helleland said the ban was "not enough".
"I wanted sanctions that can not be watered down," she said. "We owe it to the clean athletes to implement the sanctions as strongly as possible."
A total of 168 Russian athletes competed under a neutral flag at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang after the country was banned following the 2014 Games, which it hosted in Sochi. Russian athletes won 33 medals in Sochi, 13 of which were gold.
Russia has been banned from competing as a nation in athletics since 2015.
Despite the ban, Russia will be able to compete at Euro 2020 - in which St Petersburg will be a host city - as European football's governing body Uefa is not defined as a 'major event organisation' with regards to rulings on anti-doping breaches.
Fifa said it had "taken note" of Wada's decision, adding: "Fifa is in contact with Wada to clarify the extent of the decision in regards to football."
The promoters of the Russian Grand Prix also said they were "confident" the race would go ahead because their contract was signed before the Wada investigation and runs until 2025.
An F1 spokesman reiterated the comments of the promoters, adding: "We will monitor the situation to see if there is an appeal and what would be its outcome."
In a statement, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) said: "Those responsible for the manipulation of data from the Moscow laboratory before it was transferred to Wada appear to have done everything possible to undermine the principles of fair and clean sport, principles that the rest of the sporting world support and adhere to.
"This sincere lack of respect towards the rest of the global sporting movement is not welcome and has zero place in the world of sport. It is only right that those responsible for this data manipulation are punished."
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it "supported" Wada's decision.(12/21/2019) ⚡AMP
The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) unveiled the course for the marathon events in Sapporo, Hokkaido, following visits by and discussions among representatives from the International Olympic Committee, World Athletics, Tokyo 2020 and local authorities.
The course features a larger loop approximately the length of a half-marathon and a second smaller loop of approximately 10 kilometres that will be traversed twice. This course has been designed with athletes' well-being in mind and will deliver maximum efficiency to the National Olympic Committees and related bodies, who will be looking after the athletes, as well as leave a standing legacy course for any future annual marathon and road events in the city so recreational walkers and runners can follow the footsteps of their heroes.
Venue - Sapporo Odori Park
Sapporo Odori Park will be the starting and finishing point for both the marathon and race walk courses. The park features a large open space of around 7.8 hectares in the centre of Sapporo featuring beautiful lawns, flower beds and trees. It is a popular spot for tourists and local residents and hosts a number of different events throughout the year. The park lies at the heart of the host city for the 1972 Olympic Winter Games, which already hosts another competition venue for Tokyo 2020 - the Sapporo Dome for football - allowing for organisational synergies.
The course - For the marathon, athletes will start by running two laps within the park against a backdrop of the Sapporo TV Tower, one of the city's landmarks, and will then head south along Sapporo Ekimae-dori Avenue towards the busy station area through streets lined with commercial and office buildings. Among other iconic landmarks, athletes will cross the Toyohira River, originally known as the Sapporo River, which gave the city its name, and then travel north towards Hokkaido University, one of Japan's prestigious former imperial universities, founded in 1876. With this marathon course, the attractions of Japan's most northerly prefectural capital will be showcased to the world during next summer's Olympic Games.
The race walk courses, approved by the IOC Executive Board earlier this month, features 1km and 2km loops for the 20km and 50km distances respectively, along Sapporo Ekimae-dori Avenue.
Commenting from Tokyo, World Athletics Technical Delegate and Council Member Sylvia Barlag said: "Developing courses for the Olympic marathon and race walk events is always an exciting challenge to achieve a balance of athlete welfare, showcasing the city, ensuring technical and broadcast requirements are met and providing a great backdrop for spectators to enjoy the Olympic experience. We have achieved this in Sapporo and want to thank all the stakeholders and, in particular, our athletes, who have come together in a short space of time to help create these courses. We now look forward to the world's greatest marathon runners and race walkers battling for Olympic gold on the streets of Sapporo."
Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said: "The course's opening laps in Sapporo Odori Park will set the Sapporo cityscape as a fitting backdrop for the runners, sharing its charms with fans around the world. In addition to discussions with World Athletics and the IOC, which took place throughout the course finalisation process, I thank the City of Sapporo and Hokkaido Prefecture for their invaluable support.
We will continue to work closely with all parties concerned to ensure the marathons and race walks in Sapporo are a success."
World Athletics, the International Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 will continue to work closely with the relevant local authorities to ensure the success of both the marathon and race walk events in Sapporo during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Details of the Sapporo Olympic marathon course have been published following the decision to move the road events 800km north of the host city Tokyo due to heat concerns.
In Sapporo, which was the host city of the 1972 Winter Olympics, temperatures during the Games period are set to be as much as 5-6C cooler during the day than in Tokyo, it is claimed.
The new course features one loop of roughly half-marathon length and a second smaller loop of approximately 10km that will be run twice.
Sapporo Odori Park will be the starting and finishing point for both the marathon and race walk events, with marathoners first running two laps within the park against a backdrop of the Sapporo TV Tower. They will then head south along Sapporo Ekimae-dori Avenue towards the busy station area and cross the Toyohira River before returning north towards Hokkaido University and on to the finish line.
“This course has been designed with athletes’ wellbeing in mind and it will deliver maximum efficiency to the National Olympic Committees and related bodies, who will be looking after the athletes, as well as leave a standing legacy course for any future annual marathon and road events in the city so recreational walkers and runners can follow the footsteps of their heroes,” said the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The race walk courses, which were approved earlier this month, feature 1km and 2km loops for the 20km and 50km distances respectively, along Sapporo Ekimae-dori Avenue.
“Developing courses for the Olympic marathon and race walk events is always an exciting challenge to achieve a balance of athlete welfare, showcasing the city, ensuring technical and broadcast requirements are met and providing a great backdrop for spectators to enjoy the Olympic experience,” said World Athletics (IAAF) technical delegate and council member Sylvia Barlag.
“We have achieved this in Sapporo and want to thank all the stakeholders and, in particular, our athletes, who have come together in a short space of time to help create these courses. We now look forward to the world’s greatest marathon runners and race walkers battling for Olympic gold on the streets of Sapporo.”
The Olympic road events are set to take place on consecutive days between August 6-9, with the women’s marathon having moved from August 2 to August 8 and the men’s marathon taking place on August 9, the last day of the Games.(12/19/2019) ⚡AMP
The 27-year-old Callum Hawkins ran a Scottish record of 2:08:14 in London earlier this year before finishing fourth at the IAAF World Championships in Doha and will look to improve on the ninth place he achieved on his Olympic debut in Rio in 2016 when he lines up in Sapporo on August 9.
Doha marked the second successive World Championships marathon in which Hawkins has finished fourth as he also secured that result in London in 2017.
“British Athletics have taken the opportunity to pre-select him seven months in advance of Tokyo 2020 in order to give him the best possible preparation to compete for a medal,” the national governing body said when announcing Hawkins’ pre-selection.
British Athletics will officially select Hawkins for nomination to the British Olympic Association following the final marathon selection meeting on April 28, provided he has demonstrated form and fitness prior to the meeting taking place.
Despite the fine marathon performances of the likes of Charlotte Purdue, Steph Twell and Jess Piasecki this year, no British women have been pre-selected and attention will now turn to the Virgin Money London Marathon on April 26, which acts as British Athletics’ official marathon trial for the Olympic Games.
The top two finishers there are guaranteed selection as long as they have also achieved the qualifying standard of 2:11:30 for men and 2:29:30 for women.
Hawkins does not look set to be joined by Mo Farah on the GB men’s marathon team as the four-time Olympic champion announced his track return last month, with his sights on defending his 10,000m title in Tokyo.(12/18/2019) ⚡AMP
Asher-Smith will take on a world class field at the Diamond League event in London, where British fans will get a chance to give their heroes a rousing send-off before they board the plane for Japan.
The news follows the recent announcement that Asher-Smith’s British teammate and fellow world champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson will also compete at the Müller Anniversary Games, along with the Müller Indoor Grand Prix Glasgow (February 15) and Müller Grand Prix Gateshead (August 16).
“I’ve always been vocal about my love of competing in front of a home crowd, so to finish my Olympic preparations by competing at the London Stadium will be special and truly is the best send-off I could ask for,” said Asher-Smith.
“2019 has been a whirlwind of a year – the best of my career so far. I hope 2020 can be even better, and to put in a great performance at the Müller Anniversary Games would be a huge boost for me ahead of Tokyo.”(12/11/2019) ⚡AMP
Ozbilen broke Mo Farah’s European record in the Valencia Marathon on Dec. 1, finishing at 2:04:16 mark, nearly a minute better than Farah's 2:05:11.
Ozbilen finished the race at second place, trailing only to Ethiopian debutant Kinde Atanew, who won in a course record of 2:03:51.
"My training partner is the world record-holder Eliud Kipchoge and all my training level was showing under 2:04:00. So, it was an expected result which had to come earlier. But before the world championship in June, l broke a toe and lost six weeks of training and possibly a world medal," Ozbilen told Anadolu Agency on Monday.
"I am very happy to be a part of European athletic history," Ozbilen said. "My next goal and dream is the Tokyo Olympics medal."
The 33-year-old runner also added that he is planning to run until he is 40.
The athletes have professional family lives and 33 is a mature age, he said, adding that he is also planning to race in the 2024 Olympics.
Responding to a question on the secrets of his success, he noted: "The majority of this comes from genetics. It is about choosing the correct discipline, and my results show l chose marathon as the correct discipline for myself."
"What I see in Turkey is a problem in talent selection and very few clubs are supporting athletes at very low incomes.
"You can not expect a young athlete to grow for European record only with 2,000-3,000 Turkish lira ($345-$517) monthly support," Ozbilen stressed.
Noting that a-2:04:16 marathon result is not a one-day result, but it is "a 10 years [long] journey," he said, adding that it starts at young ages with successful middle distance results, such as 3:35-3:37 maximum for 1,500 meters (4,921 feet).
"After the athlete moves to 5,000 m and 10,000 m, you must reach 13-13:10 in 5,000 m and you must run around or under 28 minutes in 10,000 m," he added.
The federation and clubs must give Turkish athletes long term sufficient and individual support to have successful results, he added.
Indicating that breaking the world record would not be easy, he said: "Definitely, I will do my best and develop. I put my goals step by step and now my next step is to run under 2:04 and to get a medal in the Tokyo Olympics."
In response to a question on the reason for running for the Turkish flag as a Kenyan-origin athlete, "I love to run for the Turkish flag. Firstly to clarify, l did not get any money or any promise to be Turkish," he stressed.
"My brother Onder Ozbilen was in Kenya and he was known as a big brother in my region for selecting young talents. It took me a year to convince him that l still have big targets.
"We started to run after our dream. To be the best of Europe in front of Mo Farah's record was a dream that only we believed in and now we will go to our new dream of Olympic or World medal."(12/11/2019) ⚡AMP
Both the men’s and women’s marathon, along with all race walk events, will be staged in Sapporo.
The IOC announced its decision to shift the races in mid-October, but only gained reluctant acceptance from the Tokyo metropolitan government the following month.
Tickets will not be sold for the men’s or women’s marathon in Sapporo, as there will be no fixed seating along the course.
While reimbursement for men’s marathon tickets — sold individually for between ¥2,500 ($23US) and ¥6,000 ($55US) — will be straightforward, the refund method for women’s marathon tickets, which were packaged with other events, is still being worked out.
Tickets to the women’s marathon were bundled with those for four other track and field events at the National Stadium, such as the women’s shot put finals and the men’s 400 meters qualifying, for between ¥5,000 ($46US) and ¥30,000 ($276US).
The organizers are considering a range of options including partial refunds covering the marathon portion of the ticket price.
The men’s marathon will be held on the final day of the games.(12/06/2019) ⚡AMP
The women's marathon and all race walks at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have been rescheduled following an earlier decision to relocate them to Sapporo.
Organisers have changed the dates to assist athletes who must now travel 500 miles north of Tokyo to compete.
The women's marathon has moved from 2 August to 8 August. The men's marathon will still take place on the final day of the Games, as is tradition.
Events were relocated from Tokyo, where peak summer temperatures can reach 30C.
The rescheduled races will take place on four consecutive days from 6-9 August, following consultations between Tokyo 2020 organisers the International Olympic Committee and World Athletics.
Both marathons will start at 07:00 local time (22:00 GMT).
The women's marathon at the recent World Championships in Doha saw 28 of the 68 starters withdraw, despite the race being run at midnight in a bid to negate the hot and humid conditions.
The men's 20km race walk will take place on 6 August, and the 50km event and women's 20km event on 7 August.(12/04/2019) ⚡AMP
Eliud Kipchoge, the greatest marathon runner in history, the world record holder and only man to go under two hours for the distance, has told Reuters he will defend his Olympic title in Tokyo next year – if selected.
It should be reasonably safe to assume, even taking into account the often chaotic and inexplicable selection procedures that have long dogged Kenyan athletics, that Kipchoge will be given the chance to run next August.
“If selected I will be there.” he told Reuters in an exclusive interview in Nairobi on Tuesday. “It (Tokyo) is at the front of my mind, and I trust and believe that when the time comes I will be on the starting line.”
That line will now be in the northern city of Sapporo, where the marathons and walking events have been moved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in a bid to avoid the worst of the debilitating heat and humidity of the Tokyo area.
But Kipchoge, as ever, was careful not to voice a strong opinion on the issue.
“I think the medals are the same,” he said. “I will be among the competitors, I don’t complain, I’m in the hands of the IOC and anywhere they decide, I will go with it.”
That will be music to the ears of the organisers, especially in marathon-mad Japan, where the 35-year-old will be treated to the sort of adulation last seen when sprinter Usain Bolt was sweeping all before him.
Kipchoge has won 11 of his 12 official marathons, including the 2016 Rio Olympics, and with the world record and the sub-two hour mark under his belt, along with a string of lucrative big-city races he is a colossus of his sport.(12/04/2019) ⚡AMP
Eight months before the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo begin on July 24, construction on the new 60,000-seat stadium for the Games is complete, and it is an impressive sight. Several organizations tweeted photos of the facility yesterday where the Games’ opening and closing ceremonies, track and field events, soccer and the Paralympic Games will take place.
The stadium, which is to be called simply National Stadium, is located in Shinjuku City, one of the busiest and most densely populated parts of Tokyo. The structure, which began construction in December 2016, is said to have cost close to CAD $2 billion. It will be owned and operated by Japan Sport Council.
The building, which replaces the previous National Stadium, which was built for the 1964 Olympics, was designed by architect Kengo Kuma and design firm Azusa Sekkei Co. and built by Taisei Corp.
The facility’s 60,000 seats (fewer when the stadium is configured for the Paralympics, which will replace some seating with space for wheelchairs) are in a random pattern of greens and earth tones. According to a story in The Japan Times, it’s designed to resemble “a mosaic representing sunbeams filtering through a forest.”
To mitigate the extreme heat and humidity expected next summer, 185 fans will cool athletes and spectators in the stadium, along with eight mist-cooling devices.
The stadium is just one of numerous venues that will be used for the Olympics. The Ariaki Gymnastics Center and the Olympic Aquatics Center are both still under construction. The men’s and women’s Olympic marathon and 50K race walk will be held in Sapporo, 800 kilometers north of Tokyo.
Stay tuned for the grand opening ceremony of the stadium on December 21, at which Usain Bolt is expected to appear. The final game of Japan’s national soccer cup tournament, the Emperor’s Cup, will take place on January 1.
It was an improvement of over five minutes on Pollock’s previous best and also moves the Belfast runner to number two on the Irish all-time list behind John Treacy’s 2:09.15 set 31 years ago in Boston, and moving Mark Carroll into third with his 2:10.52 run in New York in 2002. Pollock finished in 20th position in Valencia.
The 33-year-old also qualified for the Rio Olympic marathon in 2015, and has been one of Ireland’s top performers on the road in recent years, his previous best being 2:15.30. A qualified doctor, he has also endured his share of injuries in recent years and as recently as September was out with a broken metatarsal.
Pollock also becomes the first Irish men’s qualifier in the marathon for Tokyo; Fionnuala McCormack becoming the first Irish woman to qualify in Chicago in October. Fellow Belfast runner Stephen Scullion is also eyeing up the Tokyo standard of 2:11.30, eyeing up the Houston marathon next month.
Interestingly Pollock was also wearing the Nike Zoom Vaporfly Next Percent, the running shoes that have courted some controversy for the series of faster marathon times this year.
Also running in Valencia over the 10km, Joshua Cheptegei smashed the world record in that distance, clocking 26.38. The Ugandan clipped six seconds from the previous record of 26.44 set by Kenya’s Patrick Komon in 2010 to complete a sensational 2019 hat-trick that included world titles in cross-country and 10,000m on the track.
Running on his own over the entire second half, a determined Cheptegei reached 6km in 16.02 and 7km in 18.42. Cheptegei forged on, reaching 8km in 21.37, when it became clear that the world record was within reach.
With 23.59 on the clock at the 9km point, Cheptegei needed to cover the final kilometer in 2.45, a close well within his capabilities.
“World cross champion in Denmark, 10,000m world champion in Doha and now the world record here in Valencia. What a year it has been,” the 23-year-old said. “I can’t believe it. I knew that Valencia was going to be a really fast course, one of the fastest in the world. So to get to achieve what we came here for is something really special.”(12/02/2019) ⚡AMP
Vivian Cheruiyot has finally shaken off a recurrent tendon injury, which ruled her out of the Berlin marathon in September. She will lead Kenya's legion to the Valencia marathon, her sixth race on the road, as she intends to push for a faster time.
"I will be running my sixth marathon on December 1 in Valencia. My training has gone on very well and I can feel my body is back in shape. It is not long to go now," Cheruiyot said on Friday in Nairobi.
With victories in London and Frankfurt, Cheruiyot will be pushing for her third win to supplement her collection so far.
"I know next year we have the Olympics and everyone is talking about it. I feel it is good to prove my fitness in Valencia and then see what will happen in 2020 in London or any other race I will run," she said. "The Olympics in August is still way ahead and I want to do my part and let the selectors do theirs."
Cheruiyot will face strong opposition from Ethiopians Roza Dereje and Birhane Dibaba, both of whom have broken the two-hour-20-minute barrier for the distance. Ethiopian Zeineba Yimer, who has clocked 65 minutes 46 seconds for the half marathon, makes her full marathon debut with Ethiopians Roza Dereje (2:19:17) and Birhane Dibaba (2:19:51) also jostling for the title.(11/29/2019) ⚡AMP
The British distance runner hung up his track spikes at the end of 2017 after the World Athletics Championships in London, where he earned his sixth world title by winning the 10,000m and claimed silver in the 5000m.
He shifted his focus to the roads in 2018, placing third at the London Marathon and then winning in Chicago with a European record of 2:05:11.
He came close to his marathon PB in London earlier this year, finishing fifth in 2:05:39, three minutes behind eventual winner Eliud Kipchoge. In his most recent race, last month’s Chicago Marathon, Farah placed eighth in 2:09:58, four minutes adrift of winner Lawrence Cherono.
“It has been really exciting to compete in the marathon for the past couple of years,” said Farah, who won Olympic 5000m-10,000m doubles in 2012 and 2016. “To win the Chicago Marathon, a major marathon, was nice. To finish third at the London Marathon was good.
“It’s been a great learning curve for me. Doing a marathon and to run 2:05, a European record, it was very exciting. The training for it was totally different to the track.
“I have decided that next year at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games I’m going to be back on the track,” he added. “I’m really excited to be competing back on the track and to give it a go in the 10,000m. Hopefully I haven’t lost my speed, but I’ll train hard for it and see what I can do. It’s exciting.”
Farah’s last 10,000m on the track was at the 2017 World Championships where he won in 26:49.51 with Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei finishing second. Cheptegei, the world cross-country champion, has now succeeded Farah as the world champion at the distance after the 23-year-old won in Doha in 26:48.36.
Farah’s 2017 victory in London and Cheptegei’s recent triumph in Doha played out in similar fashion. Their splits at 9000m were near identical (Farah 24:20.69 in London, Cheptegei 24:20.79 in Doha). But Cheptegei was faster than Farah in the final 1000m (2:27.57 v 2:28.82), 800m (1:56.63 v 1:57.55) and 400m (55.38 v 55.63).
Should Farah recapture his speed from his peak track-racing days, it would make for a mouth-watering clash against Cheptegei, one of the most exciting distance runners in the world at present.
If Farah, who will turn 37 in March next year, earns a medal or even simply finishes in the top 10 in Tokyo, he will make history. No one aged 37 or older has ever finished in the top 10 in a men’s 10,000m final at the Olympic Games. Mamo Wolde was 36 years and four months when he earned silver in 1968, while fellow Ethiopian Miruts Yifter was 36 years and two months when he claimed gold in 1980.(11/29/2019) ⚡AMP
Former world marathon champion Geoffrey Kirui has started light training after shaking off a tendon injury that has limited his performance in the last two years.
Geoffrey Kirui, whose last marathon win came back in 2017 at the London World Championships, believes he will be back to his best ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, though he is not guaranteed a spot in the Kenya team.
However, Kirui is hopeful the 2020 season will bring better prospects for him, as he plots a big city marathon in March or April.
Both Tokyo and Boston marathons are open for him to choose, and he will wait for his management team to secure a good contract before committing.
"I have been running with some hesitation because of a nagging tendon injury in the last two months including during the World Championship in Doha, where I failed to defend my title."
"Injuries are things that each athlete has to live with but I have recovered and I am looking forward to the new season with high hopes," Kirui said on Thursday.
To show his commitment, the 26-year-old has opted to join the winning camp of Global Sports Communication, which is run by former steeplechaser Patrick Sang under the tutelage of Dutchman Jos Harmens.
It is the same training camp that features Olympic marathon champion and world record holder Eliud Kipchoge and New York Marathon winner Geoffrey Kamworor.
"I am focusing on building up for the new year even though my management is yet to enroll me in any marathon," he said.
Besides returning to the winner's podium in 2020, Kirui has high hopes of being able to improve on his personal best time of 2:06:27.
"It has been three years since I posted my best time in the marathon. I still have a lot of potential and now it is important to improve and maybe shed off about three minutes. With Sang, Kipchoge and Kamworor training together with me, I hope to hit this target," said Kirui.
"I believe I will be able to follow suit and be as successful as Kipchoge," he added.(11/29/2019) ⚡AMP
Brigid Kosgei snubbed the call to represent Kenya at the World Championships in Doha in October in order to chase the world record in Chicago. It is a move she does not regret.
Now she has set her eyes on running at the Olympics having broken the world record for the women's marathon in Chicago, clocking 2:14:04.
"My coach and management have agreed that I should run at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. It remains the main target and challenge for me in 2020, which I want to accomplish," Kosgei said on Thursday on her way back from the World Athletics gala in Monaco, where she was among the final nominees for Female Athlete of the Year.
Kosgei will likely be in London in April to defend her London Marathon title. It will be her 10th marathon since her debut in Porto in 2015.
She has so far won in Porto, Milan, Chicago and London. Her worst performance was in Boston in 2018 in bad weather, where she clocked 2:31:48 on her way to eighth place.
"I am always motivated and I have no hard feelings for missing out on the World Athletics Female Athlete of the Year Award. I take a lot of positives from the fact that I was nominated among the best five runners in 2019, which means I had a good season. To make the final list is a win on its own," she said.
Kosgei was accompanied by her husband and coach Mathew Kosgei to Monaco, where 400m hurdler Dalilah Muhammad from USA won the Female Athlete of the Year Award, pipping Kosgei, Jamaica's Shelly Ann Fraser and Sifa Hassan of the Netherlands.
"I had my husband with me in Monaco, he has always encouraged me and coached me. He reminded me of the journey we have had, how far we have come and why being there was a victory in itself," Kosgei said.
For now, Kosgei will take a deserved rest as she plots her return next season in her push for the Olympic marathon crown.(11/28/2019) ⚡AMP
British Olympic bronze medallist Anyika Onuora has said she wasn't mentally there, to challenge at Tokyo 2020 after retiring from athletics.
Onuora, 35, won 4x400m bronze at Rio 2016 having won the same medal at the World Championships the previous year.
She is also won European gold in the 4x100m and 4x400m relays and finishes her career as a three-time Commonwealth Games medallist.
"It was a tough decision, there were a couple of tears," said Onuora.
"But I'm walking away healthy - I didn't have my career taken away from me."
Speaking to BBC Sport, Onuora, who first competed for Great Britain 18 years ago, added: "Physically, I can do any workout. But mentally, I'm not where I want to be so I just want to move onto the next chapter of my life.
"Tokyo was always the plan, especially having a successful Rio Olympics, but unfortunately I wasn't mentally there."
Onuora contracted malaria while on a family in Nigeria in October 2015 which threatened her Olympic dream.
But just 10 months later the Liverpudlian won bronze at Rio 2016.
"I never thought I could walk away from not only recovering from malaria, but also being physically back to my best, but then also winning an Olympic medal," she added.
"Among the many other medals I won, being one of only a handful of British athletes to complete 'the full set' - becoming a European, Commonwealth, world and Olympic medallist - makes me immensely proud.
"I'm forever grateful for all the people who allowed me to fulfil a big dream that a young black girl from Liverpool was able to achieve.
"Every setback and low I experienced was worth it to get to those special moments that will always hold dear to me."(11/27/2019) ⚡AMP
Construction has come to a close on the 2020 Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, Japan. The updates ultimately cost a shocking $1.35 billion US. The project started in December 2016. According to Inside the Games the 60,000-capacity stadium is due to host the opening and closing ceremonies of the of the games along with the track and field events.
While the track events will be hosted in Tokyo, the road running events have been moved to Sapporo.
For context, Sapporo is a 16 hour drive from Tokyo or roughly the equivalent of Toronto to Halifax. Many athletes, coaches and governing bodies are frustrated about the decision.
Canada’s Evan Dunfee, who won bronze in the 50K race walk event in Doha, is also up in arms about the decision, for two reasons: Canadian athletes like him and marathoner Lyndsay Tessier (who finished in the top 10 in her event) proved that heat can be managed extremely well with some commonsense protocols, and his supporters have already paid for their flights and accommodations–in Tokyo.
Dunfee lashed out against the decision on Twitter, when it became clear that while the IOC claimed to be concerned for athletes, the decision was taken without consultation.
The decision was reportedly made in the interests of sparing athletes from having to compete in Tokyo’s extreme heat and humidity. A catalyst for this change was the was the war of attrition that took place at the 2019 World Championships marathon just two months ago in Doha. There, in the women’s marathon, nearly one third of the runners didn’t make it to the finish line.(11/23/2019) ⚡AMP
Rachel Cliff says she is not running with a chip on her shoulder but her results since a bold switch to the marathon from the 5,000 meters might suggest otherwise as the Canadian looks to punch her ticket to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Cliff, in only her second career marathon, shattered the Canadian record in March at the Nagoya Women’s Marathon in Japan where her time of two hours, 26 minutes 56 seconds was 64 seconds faster than the previous national mark set in 2013.
“I was fortunate that I was able to apply the lessons I had learned in the shorter events to the marathon,” Cliff, 31, told Reuters in a telephone interview.
“And the training and the mentality of the event seemed to come quickly to me and I think that was partly because I was able to get a lot of advice from people who’d done it before.”
Yet Cliff would likely have never even started to focus on the marathon if it had not been for some heartbreak suffered a few years earlier.
She had met the Olympic standard in the 5,000m along with two other Canadian women ahead of the 2016 Rio Games but was not selected for the team by Athletics Canada, who chose not to use up all three spots allowed per country for an individual event.
The Vancouver distance runner, who had long ago dreamed of representing her country on the Olympic stage, did not go down without a fight and appealed the decision, but it was rejected.
“The simplest way to explain it now is they had the option to pick three people but for various reasons they chose to keep two,” said Cliff, who is a Canadian brand ambassador for Swiss-based sportswear company On. “It didn’t go as I wanted but that’s what happened.”
Cliff eventually accepted that she had already pushed toward her upper limit in terms of how fast she run the 5,000m and so decided her best chance at fulfilling her dream of competing in an Olympics was through the marathon.(11/22/2019) ⚡AMP
Speaking in Nairobi on Monday, Kamworor rued the missed opportunity to win an Olympic gold medal back in Rio 2016 when he finished 11 clocking 27:31.94 in the 10,000m race.
Kamworor said he would prefer to run on the track in Tokyo in what he believes will offer him the best chance to secure the only medal missing from his illustrious collections.
"I might want to have a go on the track in Tokyo. It pains me that I still don't have an Olympic medal," he said.
Kamworor turned to marathon two years ago, winning the New York race in 2017 and 2019.
"The truth is if I was offered a chance to represent Kenya at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, certainly I will not turn it down. It is an honor to run for Kenya at international competitions, especially the Olympic Games. If it is in marathon, then I will not turn it down to competitively team up with the greatest marathoner of all time," said Kamworor.
With over 500 runners, especially in marathon, there is no dearth in talent for Kenya to pick the best three to compete at the Olympics.
Defending champion Eliud Kipchoge has put up his hand ready to retain his title should he be considered.
Kipchoge has run 14 marathons and has won 13, losing only once to compatriot Wilson Kipsang. Kipchoge and Kamworor are training mates and their partnership would certainly be good for the country.
"I could not have asked for a better friend in a training partner. You have to be flattered when a person of Kipchoge's caliber holds you in high esteem and train together day after day," said Kamworor.
Kipchoge ran a record 2:01:39 in Berlin last year, while Kamworor shattered the half marathon mark in Copenhagen, Denmark in September when he clocked 58.01.
Kipchoge also ran in Vienna, the fastest time by any human attaining his goal to write history as the first person to run the marathon in under two hours. He clocked 1:59.40 at the INEOS Challenge. However, it is not the world record because it was run as a time trial.
Kipchoge has said his management will select one race for him prior to the Olympic Games to see how sharp he is.
Kenya first won the Olympic gold medal through the late Samuel Wanjiru in Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
However, Uganda's Stephen Kiprotich won in London 2012 before Kipchoge retook the title in Rio 2016.(11/20/2019) ⚡AMP
The Athens 2004 Olympic gold medallist, Mizuki Noguchi was heavily favored for the honor and her involvement was confirmed by organisers.
She will take the flame from a Greek runner after its traditional lighting at Ancient Olympia on March 12.
Judoka Tadahiro Nomura and wrestler Saori Yoshida, who have both won three Olympic gold medals for Japan, will also carry the Torch in Greece.
"I am very grateful to be a Torchbearer in Greece, which is a special place to me," said Noguchi.
"I am also happy and thankful for this opportunity given to me.
"It will have been 16 years since I first visited Greece for the Olympic Games Athens 2004.
"Appreciating the value of the Olympic Torch Relay, I will pass on the flame with my great memory from Athens 2004 and my hopes for the coming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games."(11/18/2019) ⚡AMP
Not too long ago, professional athletes rarely produced world-class results after they passed their mid-thirties and ventured into their forties. Today, however, athletes like Roger Federer and Serena Williams (both 38 years old), Tom Brady (42) and Tiger Woods (43) are proving that age is just a number, each continuing to find success in their sports.
American Bernard Lagat and Chris Brown of the Bahamas are also looking to prove they’ve still got what it takes to compete with the world’s best, with both men recently announcing they will attempt to qualify for their sixth Olympic team each.
Chris Brown, a 400m runner, is 41 years old. He has competed at each Summer Games since Sydney in 2000, where he picked up a bronze medal in the 4 x 400m relay with the Bahamian team. The Athens Games were the only ones from which Brown has returned home without a medal. He and his teammates added three more in the 4 x 400m after Sydney, winning gold in London, silver in Beijing and another bronze in Rio.
He currently coaches the Clayton State University track team in Georgia. His bio on the Clayton State track page reads that he joined the team “following a tremendous international career,” but Brown announced that he isn’t quite finished on the world stage.
Brown told the Bahamian paper the Nassau Guardian that although he took a year off of competing since joining the Clayton State staff, he hasn’t stopped training.
“My body is still active and ready to compete at any minute now,” he said. “I just try and maintain and keep my body consistent with what it has been doing.”
From the 2008 to the 2016 Olympics, Lagat competed in the 5,000m. His focus is now on the marathon, a distance which he has only raced twice. His first shot at 42K was at the New York City Marathon in 2018, where he ran a 2:17:20. In July 2019, he travelled to Australia and set an American masters record of 2:12:10 at the Gold Coast Marathon.
Lagat will be at the US Olympic Trials in Atlanta on February 29 to book his ticket for the 2020 Olympic marathon. If he makes the team, he’ll be 45 years old at the start line in Sapporo.
Brown isn’t just looking for a fun, lighthearted Olympic finale–he wants to help the Bahamian team to continue their success in the 4 x 400m. If Brown makes the team, he could be running with Steven Gardiner, a fellow Bahamian who won the 400m world championship a month ago in Doha, who would be a huge addition to the already stellar cast of previous 400m runners from the Bahamas.
Bernard Lagat Like Brown, the 44-year-old Lagat has competed on the track of each Summer Olympics since 2000. Lagat won a medal in his first two Olympic appearances, taking a bronze in 2000 and silver in 2004, both in the 1,500m. At that time, he was competing for Kenya, where he was born and raised. In 2005, however, Lagat became an American citizen, and he has represented the U.S. ever since.(11/13/2019) ⚡AMP
The clash between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) over the marathon and race walk move to Sapporo played out last week as if it were scripted.
IOC Coordination Commission chair John Coates came cast as peacemaker. The Australian showered the TMG and Tokyo 2020 with praise for their preparations, while lauding the achievements of the Japanese team and organisers at the Rugby World Cup.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike performed impressively in her role, defending locals against foreign influence and insisting she would not pay for the mess created by the IOC. A victory on both counts.
The decision to move the events to Sapporo was never going to change. Even if the TMG had the option to keep the races, it would have been a risk to overrule the IOC’s warnings about heat on the off chance a major incident occurred involving an athlete.
The decision is a sad one, with Tokyo missing out on the opportunity to showcase the city’s landmarks to a worldwide audience and offer the residents of the capital city the chance to watch one of Japan’s favoured events for free.
Maybe, the IOC decision is the right one. Even if we set aside previous Olympic marathon and race walks being held under similar conditions, and the fact the IOC did not rush to protect the health of athletes when a year before Rio 2016 sailors and rowers were falling ill amid the pollution of Guanabara Bay.
If we take the view of Canadian race walker Evan Dunfee - one I share - that the IOC took the decision to protect their brand and avoid negative press, it could still be a fair reason to move the events.
Would it be a good thing for the sport of athletics to see athletes wheeled away from a course requiring medical attention, as they were at the World Championships in Doha, even if they are ultimately okay? Sure, athletes will push beyond their limits anyway, but it seems reasonable to try to mitigate risks.
It was suggested here that the looped course in Doha made it easier for athletes to receive medical support. Where the city circuit touring the sights of Tokyo would see resources more spread out.
The five Ps of "proper preparation preventing poor performance" apply here, with athletes having the responsibility to tailor their training to the conditions. But, equally, organisers could not respond by saying an athlete should have prepared better if something went awry.
A key question is whether the IOC should be the ones making this call, rather than an International Federation or medical experts.
There is little doubt, though, that the IOC has handled this badly.
Managing to annoy athletes, politicians and residents of a city at the same time is impressive - even for the IOC.
This is problematic for the IOC in both the short and long-term.
The most pressing issue is that there is no course in Sapporo yet for either the marathon and race walks, while financing remains unclear.
Athletes and National Olympic Committees will be required to adapt plans, which is likely to see additional support staff required to be brought to Sapporo, with the associated costs involved.
Currently, there is no concrete plan as to who picks up the cost of the move, other than knowing that the Tokyo Government will not be doing so. I wonder whether Sapporo’s hopes of the hosting the Winter Olympics in 2030 could enjoy a boost should they bail the IOC out of a hole here.
The IOC has agreed to examine and verify the money already spent by the TMG on heat countermeasures, such as special paving. Although the IOC has promised it will not walk away from obligations, there appeared to be a suggestion the Paralympic and proposed "Olympic Celebration Marathon" could be used to say Tokyo has received a legacy for their investment.
The TMG’s anger at the lack of consultation may just be a short-term issue. A sympathetic view is that the IOC realised the only way to force the switch to Sapporo was the take extreme action and give Tokyo no choice but to conform, given they knew organisers would fight tooth and nail otherwise.
The IOC may have decided it is better to take the heat now than at Games time - excuse the pun. The decision could yet leave them marinating in their own words for some time to come, given what it exposes about the IOC’s relationship with host cities.
If we rewind little over a year, the IOC dispatched Olympic Games executive director Christophe Dubi to Calgary to convince locals to support their 2026 Winter bid. The visit came at a time when the Winter Olympic bid race appeared to be threatening to collapse completely, with anti-Olympics campaigners driving the message that the IOC cannot be trusted.
I wrote at the time that Dubi had delivered a strong display for the IOC, where he fronted up on previous mistakes and insisted changes had been made. The message was clear: the IOC will act as a partner with host cities and work the Games concept around them.
"What has changed in the IOC from 2014 is our approach to the way we do the bidding, organise the Games and manage legacies," he said. "It is all about partnership, it is all about flexibility and finding the right solution for the hosts.
"The Games cannot impose to a city anymore; the Games adapt to a city.
"It means over the last two years, we had to look at our Host City Contract, every single article to make sure that flexibility is reflected in every single article. Every requirement has to live to local creativity to play.
"We do not have the final solution, we have local solutions."
It is hard to reconcile these words with this latest decision taken by the IOC.
Is taking a unilateral decision without consulting the host city really acting in partnership with them? Is taking free events from a host against their will not the IOC imposing its will on city? Is moving an event 800 kilometres from the host city really a local solution?
When asked about whether the decision was the IOC dictating to a host city, Coates suggested the Sapporo switch did not clash with their rhetoric.
"We have a Host City Contract and the Olympic Charter leaves a clear authority for the IOC to take decisions like this where it is necessary," he said. "I do not think that is at odds with the Agenda 2020 reforms in terms of flexibility.
"If you suddenly become aware of something, you have got to have the right to respond to that, as has happened here where we have had to act very quickly because of the experience of Doha."
While Coates and the IOC might believe that, the past couple of weeks will serve as evidence for critics that the leopard has not changed its spots.
The IOC claim they are a joint party with a host city, but their actions suggest that these are our Games, not yours.
After all, an Organising Committee repeatedly hailed as being the best prepared in Olympic history has been rewarded by being left scrambling for the past two weeks, unable to provide answers to a scenario they did not create.
Anti-Olympics campaigners will point to one of Japan’s most powerful politicians being overruled about a decision in her own city. Koike’s own quotes will be used as warnings for future hosts.
"We are receiving angry opinions about what being a host city really implies," she said earlier this week. "We consider it an unprecedented turn of events for the IOC to take such a proposal with no consultation or discussion with the host city beforehand."
The IOC may be right to move the marathon and race walk events.
However, I wonder whether their handling of the switch will have a wider impact than the decision itself.(11/10/2019) ⚡AMP
The National Olympic Committee of Kenya is backing IOC's decision to move the marathon and any other event out of Tokyo during the 2020 Olympic Games.
Nock acting secretary-general, Francis Mutuku, said the International Olympic Committee had explained to all NOCs a few weeks ago during the General Assembly why it is necessary to move the marathon and walking races.
" Our athletes were really affected by the high levels of heat and humidity at the recent World Championships in Doha and we are not ready to take a similar route in Tokyo 2020," he said.
He said they expect a worse situation in Tokyo and it is important that they take precautions.
“The IOC explained that the interest of the athletes is paramount and if it requires a sport to be moved from the host City to achieve that, they will consider that. Kenya is big in marathon running and we want our athletes to compete in the best conditions," said Mutuku.
He added: “Nock is therefore supportive of IOC's decision and not just for the marathon, but also any other sport that may be required to be shifted.”(11/05/2019) ⚡AMP
It was recently learned that based on the premise of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathons and race walks being moved to Sapporo as a safeguard against hot temperatures, the IAAF and other involved parties have proposed two plans to compress the five events into three days.
Both plans call for the men's and women's marathons to be held the same day. In the first plan the men's and women's 20 km race walks would be held Aug. 7, with the men's 50 km race walk held Aug. 8. Originally scheduled for Aug. 2, the women's marathon would be held the same day as the men's marathon on Aug. 9.
In the second plan, the five events would be held either July 27 to 29 or 28 to 30. The men's and women's marathons would be held the same day, but which day they would be held has not been specified. Under this plan the road events would take place prior to the start of track and field competition at Tokyo's new Olympic Stadium on July 31, making it possible to avoid having athletics events happening in Tokyo and Sapporo simultaneously.
The IAAF has asked participating national and regional federations to express their preference between the two proposals by Oct. 31.(11/01/2019) ⚡AMP
Aiyabei, who is a former Beijing Marathon champion, has thrown her hat in the ring and is seeking to conquer any of the six World Marathon Majors (WMM) course in 2020 alongside making it to the Kenya team for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The 28-year-old ran the fifth-fastest women's marathon time in Frankfurt last Sunday after recording 2:19:10 to break the previous course record of 2:20:36 set by Ethiopia's Meskerem Assefa in 2018.
"I know I can run faster. I now target the women's record of Keitany, which was set two years ago in London. Then maybe I can start dreaming of challenging Brigid Kosgei's women's marathon record," Aiyabei said on Thursday in Nairobi after arriving from Frankfurt.
It has taken over a decade for Kosgei to break the women's all-time world record of 2:15:25 set by Paula Radcliffe in London back in 2003. Kosgei clocked 2:14:01 to break the 16-year-old mark.
"My plan is to break the record in any of the World Marathon Majors. I will plan with my coaches to see which race is convenient for me and my mission," Aiyabei added.
New York, Berlin, Tokyo, Chicago, Boston, and London races form the WRR series with the Olympics and World Championships being part of the circuit.
But Aiyabei hopes her performance in Frankfurt will open doors for her to secure a call to run in either Tokyo, Boston or London in April.
"That record can be broken. But it's rather safe to start with the women's only record and then push for Kosgei's mark later. It all depends on one's mental strength, psyche and how you train. I have a dream to lower Kosgei's record and I believe with God's blessings, it will come to pass," added Aiyabei.
Already Kosgei has called out on sponsors to fund her training to try and make history, similar way Olympic Champion Eliud Kipchoge did in Vienna with the INEOS 1:59 Challenge.
"I believe women can run below two hours and ten minutes," said Kosgei. "I can run faster than the time I set in Chicago."
That spirit has also given Aiyabei the belief she can control her own destiny and push herself to break the world record.
"Kosgei's feat was very inspiring and I have decided to emulate her and make another step in my career," she said.(10/31/2019) ⚡AMP
The abrupt decision to shift the marathons and race walks was announced almost two weeks ago by the IOC. Made without consulting the city or local organizers — to move next year’s Tokyo Olympic marathons 800 kilometers (500 miles) north to Sapporo to avoid the capital’s summer heat.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike is angry about it. Her allies say no change is needed and have raised questions about who will pay if the move goes through, and have not ruled out a lawsuit to recover damages.
Taro Shirato and Hiroshi Yamada, members of Koike’s political party in the metropolitan legislature, told a news conference Tuesday that moving the marathon would cost at least $34 billion yen (about $310 million).
The IOC said it is making the change, thinking first of athletes’ safety from Tokyo’s blistering summer heat.
Koike’s allies offered a different take. Koike is one of Japan’s most influential politicians and just a few years ago was viewed as a potential candidate for prime minister. And she’s miffed about not being consulted.
“Although they (IOC) talk about so-called athletes first, this can only be perceived as IOC first,” Shirato said through an interpreter.
“You get the sense that no considerations have been made for the athletes,” Shirato added, “or the spectators who had already bought their tickets and who were looking forward to these events, or the potential spectators who will be cheering on the streets, and also to the people involved in the operation.”
In a statement to The Associated Press, the Tokyo city government said it wants to see “sufficient scientific evidence” to justify the switch. It also asked if any other city was considered besides Sapporo.
Don’t expect the IOC to budge. It has inspectors in Tokyo this week looking at preparations with the Olympics opening in just under nine months on July 24.
IOC member John Coates heads the team and is an ally to President Thomas Bach. He has said repeatedly the IOC does not intend to change its plans, and has told that to Koike.
The IOC fears worldwide television audiences might see a repeat of the recent world track and field championships in Doha, Qatar, where 28 of 68 starters failed to finish the women’s marathon and 18 of 73 men failed to complete the course.
The races started at midnight in Doha with TV showing runners collapsing on the course. The scenes apparently shocked IOC President Thomas Bach.
Yamada acknowledged the heat posed a risk. He said Tokyo has proposed moving the start to 5 a.m., which is mid-summer sunrise in Tokyo. Last week city officials also floated the idea of a 3 a.m. start.
Estimates suggest the temperature would be 27 degrees C (81 degrees F) at 5 a.m., and would be 25.4 degrees C (78 degrees F) in Sapporo for a 7 a.m. start. The starting temperature in Doha for the women’s marathon was 32.7 degrees C (91 degrees F).
Yamada described the starting temperatures in Tokyo and Sapporo “on a par.”
“We do recognize and understand that the heat is a very important factor, but we do not believe that at this moment it represents an overly excessive risk,” Yamada said.
Tokyo’s soaring costs are also a major issue.
A government audit report last year said Tokyo was spending about $25 billion to organize the Olympics, all of which is public money except for $5.6 billion from a privately financed operating budget.
Tokyo said in its bid in 2013 that the Olympic would cost $7.3 billion.
Yamada was asked who would pay for the increased costs.
“In the event this is changed to Sapporo, then I believe the citizens of Tokyo will not be convinced they need to pay,” Yamada said. “What I can say is that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government should not be the one to pay.”
Asked if the Tokyo government might sue for damages, Yamada hedged.(10/30/2019) ⚡AMP
Diver finished 21st in the marathon in Beijing and followed it up with 20th at the IAAF World Championships London 2017. Since making her breakthrough into world class territory with a clocking of 2:25:19 at last year’s Melbourne Marathon, she has joined the Melbourne Track Club coached by Nick Bideau, parting ways with her long-time coach Tim Crosbie.
“I got a great base with Tim and the ‘Crosbie Crew’ but moving to Nick has helped me take the next step in my running career. I’ve moved to the next level and my training has changed quite a bit. I’m now training in a group of elite athletes and being around them has made a massive difference to my running. I’m really glad I made the move.”
The switch has paid dividends with Diver, finishing an impressive seventh at this year’s London Marathon in 2:24:11, securing qualification for next year’s Tokyo Olympics. She followed it up with 14th in the 10,000m at the IAAF World Championships Doha 2019 with 31:25.49, just half a second outside the automatic Olympic qualification standard.
“The London Marathon was brilliant. I went there aiming for 2:23 but unfortunately it was a bit windy. I led the race for half of it which was unexpected and was a bit of fun. I really loved the experience.”
With Olympic qualification secured, Diver will look to place highly in New York on Sunday, rather than focus on bettering her PB.
“New York will be hilly and I prefer flat courses, but the experience of just racing for placing will be great practice leading into Tokyo. To get the opportunity to run in that calibre of field in New York is really special.”
New York will likely be the 42-year-old’s last marathon before the Olympics. Having missed out on Rio 2016 due to a knee injury caused by the cuboid bone in her foot, competing in Tokyo will be extra special for Diver.
“Missing out on Rio was really hard to stomach, so to compete in Tokyo would be a dream come true. The Olympics is the pinnacle of sport. It would be amazing to be part of it.”
Now aged 42 and showing no signs of slowing down, Diver believes it’s never too late to take up a sport for the first time and that people should ignore those who say it’s not possible to excel at a mature age.
“If you feel good enough to do it then give it a go. Nobody else can tell you what your body is capable of. There is nothing to suggest that when you turn 40 you need to fall apart. It hasn’t happened for me and I feel fitter than I was ten years ago.
“If I can do it then I can’t see why other people can’t do it too.”(10/30/2019) ⚡AMP
Tokyo, host of the 2020 Olympic Games, is considering proposing to start the marathon and race walking events as early as 3:00 a.m. to counter an IOC decision to move the races to Sapporo due to worries about heat, Kyodo news agency said on Thursday.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) this month announced a plan to move the marathon and race walking to Sapporo, on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, from originally planned courses in the capital.
Kyodo, citing unnamed sources, said Tokyo is looking into an alternative plan to have the races start at 3 a.m. or 5 a.m. to keep them in the city.
An official at the Tokyo metropolitan government’s Olympic preparation bureau told Reuters he was not aware of such a plan.
Yoshiro Mori, the president of Tokyo 2020 Olympics, said the city had little choice but to accept the IOC plan, but Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike believes the races should be held in Tokyo.
“We have made many preparations and there’s no change in my thinking that it should be held in Tokyo,” she told reporters last week.(10/26/2019) ⚡AMP
The International Olympic Committee has announced that the men’s and women’s marathons and race walking events will be moved from Tokyo to Sapporo, a distance of some 800 kilometers, due to the extreme heat and humidity conditions expected in the Japanese capital next summer.
Sapporo, the capital city of the northern Hokkaiden Prefecture, hosted the Winter Games in 1972. The weather in July and August, when the 2020 Olympics will be held, is likely to be warm (averaging 26 C), but five or six degrees cooler than Tokyo and significantly less humid.
Athletes and others have been sounding the alarm about Tokyo’s heat and the possible danger to athletes for some time, and in turn, the IOC Medical and Scientific Commission Adverse Weather Impact Expert Working Group has a number of measures in place to mitigate the effects of extreme heat, which include scheduling track events of 5,000m and longer in the evening rather than the morning, and scheduling the marathon and race walk events at 6:00 a.m.
Heat countermeasures will be high on the agenda of the IOC Co-ordination Commission for Tokyo 2020’s upcoming meeting in Tokyo from October 30 to November 1. They will also consider the results of a heat countermeasure questionnaire distributed to each international federation.
With Sapporo being so remote from Tokyo, the decision has an impact on the logistics of transporting and housing athletes, officials and spectators.
The decision comes on the heels of the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar, where numerous athletes dropped out of the women’s marathon due to extreme heat and humidity.
Team Canada is particularly adept at embracing measures to counteract the effects of heat, with athletes doing heat acclimation, pre-cooling, taking full advantage of measures designed to keep them cool on the course, and being conservative about pace. As a result, Evan Dunfee won a bronze medal in the 50K race walk in Doha, and Lyndsay Tessier finished in the top 10 of the women’s marathon.
Tokyo is currently digging out after what experts are calling the worst typhoon in 60 years.(10/16/2019) ⚡AMP
Vladimir Putin says Russia wants to leave its doping "shortcomings" in the past, even as it faces questions regarding data tampering.
The Russian president tells a televised sports conference that his country is complying with the World Anti-Doping Agency "to the fullest extent."
Russia met the October 9 deadline for responding to questions regarding “inconsistencies” in the data WADA investigators retrieved from a Moscow laboratory in January as part of a massive doping investigation.
The agency said its Intelligence and Investigations Team and independent forensic experts will analyze Russia’s response, adding that “no fixed timeline can be set for this” but that WADA is pursuing the matter “robustly and as quickly as practicable.”
Russia faces the prospect of being banned from next year’s Olympics in Tokyo after the World Anti-Doping Agency gave it three weeks to explain apparent inconsistencies in data from its Moscow laboratory or to suffer the consequences.
Sources close to the situation believe there is now a strong possibility Russia will be banned from the Olympic Games and it is not inconceivable such a punishment could also extend to competitions in any sport signed up to Wada’s code, including the football World Cup.
Stanislav Pozdnyakov, the president of Russia’s Olympic Committee, admitted the situation was “very serious” and could jeopardise Russia’s Olympic participation.
WADA lifted its ban on the Russian Anti-Doping Agency in September 2018, much to the anger of the wider global anti-doping community and athlete groups. Critics said the Russians had refused to accept the findings of the McLaren report that concluded its government was involved in a massive doping conspiracy.
Wada said it had to compromise in order to get the data from the Moscow lab, which it had wanted since 2015, in order to build cases against athletes suspected of being involved in a state-sponsored doping programme.
However, Wada’s board was told that investigators had also found inconsistencies between a data set passed to it by a whistleblower in 2017 and the evidence extracted in January.
Jonathan Taylor, chairman of Wada’s committee tasked with overseeing Russia’s compliance, told the New York Times the Russians needed to “pull a rabbit out of a hat” to avoid new penalties. “There were positive findings that were deleted;
The Russian sports minister, Pavel Kolobkov, said the ministry would cooperate with Wada, adding that experts in the field of digital technology would be involved.
The chief executive of the US Anti-Doping Agency, Travis Tygart, who has repeatedly warned that Wada was being played by Russia, said he was unsurprised by the latest news.
“Let’s hope there are no secret backroom deals but that justice is finally served in an open, transparent and public manner,” he said. “The world, and especially clean athletes, have already been yanked around enough already.”(10/13/2019) ⚡AMP
Olympic Channel general manager Mark Parkman has targeted giving fans one of the best digital experiences they have ever seen at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The Olympic Channel was launched at the Closing Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The first full Summer Olympics involving the online platform will be next year's Games in Japan's capital city.
Parkman explained the Olympic Channel is seeking original stories and programmes.
A focus will be on the host nation, with localised content produced for a Japanese audience – this will be used by the Olympic Channel and Tokyo 2020.
"From January of this year through October of 2020, Japan is our most important market," he told Kyodo News.
"We want to be a place where those interested in the games can come and find great stories, great original programming and information.
“We want to collaborate with Tokyo 2020 so that the digital experience for the fans is one of the best they've ever seen."
International Association of Athletics Federations President Sebastian Coe has praised the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games marathon course, after a test event was held in the Japanese capital.
The warm-up races on Sunday (September 15), known as the Marathon Grand Championship, saw Japanese athletes bid to win a spot on the host nation's Olympic team.
Shogo Nakamura and Honami Maeda won the men's and women's races, respectively, and can now look forward to their home Games next year.
Second-place finishers Yuma Hattori and Ayuko Suzuki also qualified.
Runners followed the Olympic route but the start and finish, at Icho Namiki Avenue in Meiji Jingu Gaien Park, was different., as the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Stadium is still under construction.
Athletes passed by Tokyo landmarks including the Thunder Gate, Imperial Palace, Zojoji Temple and Nihombashi Bridge.
The course is mainly flat and similar to the one used at the Tokyo Marathon, part of the World Marathon Majors series.
"The marathon is a growing highlight of the athletics programme, with imaginative courses that show off the best of cities and are challenging for athletes and fan-friendly," said Coe, a double Olympic gold medalist for Britain over 1,500 meters.
"This marathon course highlights the essence of Tokyo – a blend of tradition and modernity."
The heat at the test event reached up to 28 degrees centigrade with a 75 per cent humidity.
Even warmer conditions are expected when the Olympics are held in July and August, a major headache for organizers after dozens of heat-related deaths in Tokyo.
The Olympic marathons start-time has already been moved back to 6am to avoid the hottest parts of the day.
Organizers used the test event to assess issues they may face next year.(09/18/2019) ⚡AMP
With just 10 months until the Tokyo Olympics, organizers are experimenting with various ways to keep spectators cool during what is likely to be a scorching hot and oppressively humid Summer Games.
Along with mist machines and so-called “parasol hats” (essentially an umbrella that sits on your head), organizers recently tested the effectiveness of a snow machine at the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo Bay, the venue for the Olympic and Paralympic rowing and canoeing events.
While you might expect to see such a contraption at the Winter Games rather than at its summer equivalent, the organizers were keen to see if it could serve as a way to stop the spectators from overheating.
During the test on Friday, the machine blasted around 300 kg (660 pounds) of fake snow over a crowd of volunteers sitting in the stands.
But it seems that the experiment didn’t quite go according to plan.
“Coarse shards of shaved ice”
For starters, instead of light, fluffy snow-like flakes floating down from the sky, the crowd had to endure what the Japan Times described as “fairly coarse shards of shaved ice.”
It added that with so much fake snow coming down in the space of just a few minutes, many in the crowd were “quickly soaked through,” adding that the “floor became slippery, resulting in one journalist taking a tumble.”
And when they measured the temperature around the stand after the snowfall, they found it to be exactly the same as before.
“We are trying everything possible to ease heat risks,” Taka Okamura, a member of the 2020 organizing committee, told the Times.
“This is not meant to cool the entire atmosphere but have spectators feel refreshed when the flakes of ice touch them,” Okamura clarified, while at the same time admitting that the system needs a little work.
The heat issue is a serious one for the organizers of the Tokyo Olympics, with concerns not only about the well being of spectators, but also the athletes and volunteers. In the space of just one week at the end of July 2019, more than 18,000 people across Japan were hospitalized with suspected heatstroke, with around 60 deaths reported. Last year’s summer was no easier, with the mercury going as high as 105.98F (41.1C) in a city close to Tokyo, though the humidity made it feel even hotter.
Organizers of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics avoided the high temperatures by scheduling it in October, but in recent decades the International Olympic Committee has insisted on summer dates for the Games as this results in the biggest payouts from global broadcasters who regard it as the best time of year in terms of audience potential.(09/16/2019) ⚡AMP
Japan’s selection process for their 2020 Olympic marathon team culminated in victory for Shogo Nakamura and Honami Maeda at the Marathon Grand Championship in Tokyo on Sunday (15).
Japan’s Olympic marathon squad is arguably the toughest national team to make. Several nations may have great depth in one particular area – the US and Jamaica in the sprints and hurdles, Kenya and Ethiopia in the distance events – but for Japan’s MGC there were strict qualifying criteria simply to make it to the start line.
The qualifying window for the MGC opened in August 2017. Anyone who clocked the MGC qualifying standard (2:08:30 for men, 2:24:00 for women) or achieved a sub-2:11/2:28 average for their two fastest marathons in the qualifying window could compete at the MGC. Such was the fierce qualifying battle, the men’s long-standing Japanese record was broken by two different men during the qualifying period.
Forty athletes – 30 men and 10 women – eventually lined up for the MGC. Six of the men in the field had PBs faster than 2:08 while all but two runners in the women’s field had previously bettered 2:25.
And as if the tough qualifying process and competitive line-up wasn’t hard enough, the MGC itself – a marathon in 24-28C heat and 75% humidity – was one final brutal hoop for Japan’s best distance runners to jump through.
Even then, only the top two finishers are guaranteed a spot on Japan’s Olympic team. The third-place finishers are given a provisional place, but if another Japanese man runs 2:05:50 (the Japanese record) or a woman clocks 2:22:23, they can be given the third spot instead.
Fittingly, both races were not short on drama. Yuta Shitara, who broke the Japanese half-marathon record with 1:00:17 in 2017 and followed it with a since-bettered Asian record of 2:06:11 in Tokyo in February 2018, had promised before the race that he was going to set off fast and he stayed true to his word.
The 27-year-old shot into the lead, covering the first 5km in 14:56 and reaching 10km in 29:52. By the time he reached 15 kilometres (44:59), his lead had grown to more than two minutes. Shitara reached the half-way point in 1:03:27 while the four-man chase pack – comprising Kengo Suzuki, Shogo Nakamura, Yuma Hattori and national record-holder Suguru Osako – followed in 1:05:28, showing Shitara’s lead was already starting to dwindle.
The chasing pack grew to seven men at 30km. Shitara continued to lead, but his margin had reduced to 77 seconds. Two more men caught up with the chasers over the next five kilometres, reaching 35km in 1:49:12, and Shitara was now in sight, just 35 seconds in front after covering that five-kilometre section in 16:57.
The inevitable happened two kilometres later as the chase pack breezed past Shitara at the drinks station. With eight men now in contention, Ryo Hashimoto pushed the pace and was followed by Osako, Nakamura and Hattori.
Nakamura was the next to make a move and opened up a few seconds on Hattori and Osako at 40km with Hashimoto dropping back. But with 28 seconds separating the top seven men and little more than two kilometres remaining, the race was far from over. Hattori briefly dropped Osako, but they regrouped moments later and appeared to make up ground on Nakamura. Osako managed to bridge the gap to Nakamura but had nothing left as Nakamura pulled away in the closing stages to win by eight seconds, crossing the line in 2:11:28.
First place may have been decided but the race for Olympic team places wasn’t over. Hattori caught a struggling Osako before the line to take second place in 2:11:36. Osako finished third in 2:11:41. Shohei Otsuka, fourth in 2:11:58, was the only other finisher inside 2:12. Long-time leader Shitara eventually finished 14th in 2:16:09.
The women’s race was effectively decided just before half way when Honami Maeda broke away from the pack.
Eight of the 10 women in the field had passed through 10km in 33:34 and five of them were still together at 15km. Maeda made her move just before 20km, which she passed in 1:07:27, two seconds ahead of two-time world finalist Ayuko Suzuki, who was contesting just her second marathon to date.
A 16:41 split for the next five-kilometre segment was enough to drop the last of Maeda’s pursuers and by 30km her lead had grown to 82 seconds. She continued to pull away from Suzuki over the final quarter of the race and went on to win convincingly in 2:25:15.
Suzuki had a comfortable 33-second margin over Rei Ohara at 40km, but she started to struggle during the last two kilometres. Ohara made up significant ground but couldn’t quite catch Suzuki before the line as Suzuki – the slowest qualifier for the MGC – claimed second place in 2:29:02 with Ohara taking third in 2:29:06. Mizuki Matsuda was fourth in 2:29:51.(09/15/2019) ⚡AMP
Lebogang Phalula believes Tokyo is calling and she knows that Cape Town is her best way to answer.
“Cape Town Marathon is my ticket,” said the one half of South Africa’s famous road running twin sisters.
A good run at the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon on September 15 will help Phalula realise what she believes is every athlete’s dream - Olympic participation.
The IAAF Gold Label marathon also doubles up as the Athletic South Africa Marathon Championships and Phalula, her twin Lebo, and the other local women, need to run a sub-2:30 time to book a spot on Team SA for Tokyo 2020.
“The Olympics is the ultimate in sport. We all dream to participate in and to be part of the Games. I know I want to go to Tokyo next year and my sister also shares the same dream. We want to be part of the marathon team that will represent the country at the Olympics.”
Lebo concurred: “We have been working very hard in training with coach JP (Van der Merwe, the former Olympian) preparing for Sanlam. We hope that everything goes according to plan on race day so we can qualify for the Olympics.”
The time required for the Phalula twins to go to Tokyo will require serious effort on their part in Cape Town.
Lebogang has a 2:38:00 from the 2016 edition while Lebo ran a 2:38:55 in 2015.
They both missed last year’s edition. Lebogang was injured and admits it was hard not being part of those traversing the Mother City in the chase for a medal in Africa’s only Gold Label Status race.
“I did not run it last year because of a calf injury I had. It was not easy to watch on TV because I really wanted to be a part of it But that is all in the past and I am happy now that all is going well, I have no injuries. I am ready to take on the most famous race in Africa.”
Lebo is high on confidence too: “I was in position 14 in Pietermaritzburg (leg of the Spar Grand Prix Series). I am ranked in the 13 position which is not that bad on points for Spar Series. So I have the belief I will do well in Cape Town.”
Lebogang meanwhile says it is a blessing that they can run such a high standard race in their own backyard.
“Opportunities to go overseas and run gold label races like this one or even the majors are very rare. A lot of athletes in Africa do not get that chance. This is one of a kind race for us as African athletes, a gold label status race in our country. So now that the chance is presented to us right here in our home, we need to grab it.”(09/04/2019) ⚡AMP