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ITU shortens triathlon test event amid Tokyo heat concerns

The International Triathlon Union was moved to reduce the length of the running section of a test event in Tokyo today (Thursday) due to concerns over the heat.

The ITU halved the length of the running section of the race,from 10km to 5km, after temperatures crossed 30 degrees celsius despite the early start of 7:30am local time (22:30 GMT). The lengths of the cycling and swimming sections were unaffected.

The news comes amid growing concerns over extreme temperatures in the Japanese capital ahead of its hosting of the Olympic and Paralympic Games next year. The local organising committee has already announced that it will bring the start time of next year’s marathon forward, to 6:30am, in an attempt to avoid the worst of the heat. 

A Paratriathlon test event this coming weekend has also been brought forward an hour, while last weekend, several athletes were treated for heatstroke at the 2019 World Rowing Junior Championships, another test event ahead of the Olympics.

57 deaths have been attributed to the extreme temperatures in Tokyo since late July, compounding organisers’ worries about the threat to athletes and fans alike at next year’s Games. The Japanese Medical Association earlier this year expressed “grave concerns” about the conditions, with high levels of humidity as much of a risk as the rising temperatures. Tokyo has experienced extreme heatwaves in each of the last two summers.

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