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Where EAST meets the Northwest


TRYING TRIATHLON. Mexico’s Cecilia Perez, center, collapses after competing in a women’s triathlon test event at Odaiba Marine Park, a venue for marathon swimming and triathlon at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, on August 15, 2019, in Tokyo. Tokyo’s summer heat forced the Olympic women’s triathlon qualifying event to be shortened because of high temperatures that are likely to plague next year’s games. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

From The Asian Reporter, V29, #16 (August 19, 2019), page 10.

Tokyo’s summer heat forces triathlon test to be shortened

By Stephen Wade

The Associated Press

TOKYO — Tokyo’s summer heat has forced an Olympic women’s triathlon qualifying event to be shortened because of high temperatures that are likely to impact next year’s games.

The International Triathlon Union (ITU) reduced the running portion of the triathlon from 10 kilometers to 5 kilometers because temperatures fell within what it termed "extreme levels."

"There was full consensus on all parties for the decision of the ITU medical delegate and ITU technical delegates to shorten the run distance to 5km, considering the athletes’ health," the ITU said in a statement.

Tokyo’s hot and humid summers are a major worry for organizers of next year’s Olympics, which open July 24. Temperatures routinely hover around 90º Fahrenheit, which was the level that day with a forecast as high as 97º F.

The race began at 7:30am local time.

This was not a problem during the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, which were held in October. The schedule and demands of television force the midsummer schedule this time.

"The ITU informed Tokyo 2020 that a comprehensive review is necessary soon after the competitions," Tokyo organizing committee’s Masa Takaya said. "In this respect, we will continue to work closely together with the team."

Jess Learmonth and Georgia Taylor-Brown of Britain were disqualified for trying to intentionally tie in first place. The event was an Olympic qualifier for some countries.

The governing body, the ITU, described water quality conditions at the venue as "very good" in Tokyo Bay.

Swimmers at a recent distance swim event, held at the same venue as the triathlon, complained of foul smelling water.

Dirty water was a major problem at the last Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, with open-water venues testing high for viruses and bacteria because much of Rio does not have a functioning sanitation system.

"There are no concerns at all about the water quality in Odaiba Bay," the ITU said in a statement.

The water temperature, however, was very warm. The ITU reported it at 86.5º F.

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