Tokyo’s summer heat forces triathlon test to be shortened

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 reduced the running portion of the triathlon from 10 kilometers to 5 kilometers on Thursday 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 32C (90F), which was the level Thursday with a forecast 36C (97F) on Saturday.

The race began at 7:30 a.m 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 this week,” Tokyo organizing committee’s Masa Takaya said. “In this respect, we will continue to work closely together with the team.”

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 for 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 on Thursday. The ITU reported it at 30.3C (86.5F).


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