Tokyo 2020 marathon, walks rescheduled

The women's marathon at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and all the race walks have been rescheduled, following the controversial decision taken in October to move the events out of the capital and 800 kilometres north to the city of Sapporo.

Tokyo 2020 organisers announced the rescheduling on Wednesday, following discussions with the International Olympic Committee and World Athletics, to ease the burden on National Olympic Committees and athletes travelling to northern Japan.

It now means that all the marathon and race walk events are scheduled to be held on four consecutive days, from August 6 to 9, with the men's marathon remaining on the final day of the Games, as per tradition.

The women's marathon was initially set for August 2. Both marathons will start at 7am local time.

The body's Executive Board also confirmed that the marathon and race walk courses will start and finish at Sapporo's Odori Park.

The organisers' proposed marathon route will see runners take two laps of a roughly 20-kilometre course around the city's centre.

"Athletes' health and well-being are always at the heart of our concerns, and the decision to move the marathon and race walk events to Sapporo shows how seriously we take such concerns," the Chair of the IOC's Athletes' Commission, Kirsty Coventry, said.

"We also want the Olympic Games to be the platform where athletes can give 'once-in-a-lifetime' performances, and this new venue ensures that they will have the conditions to give their best."

The IOC stunned Games organisers in October by announcing the marathon, one of the most prestigious events at any Olympics and one especially beloved in Japan, would be moved to the northern Japanese city of Sapporo to avoid the worst of Tokyo's summer heat.

Tokyo temperatures in July and August, when the city will host the Games, regularly exceed 30 degrees Celsius with high humidity adding to the discomfort.