TOKYO (AP) — Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has told powerful IOC members she wants the Olympic marathon held in Tokyo and lashed out at what she called an “unprecedented” move to switch the race to the northern city of Sapporo.
Koike spoke at a meeting Wednesday in which IOC officials opened three days of talks in Tokyo to discuss progress on the Olympics, which open in just under nine months.
International Olympic Committee officials announced the abrupt change about two weeks ago, switching to the cooler northern city. They said the move came after seeing runners collapse in extreme heat at the marathons at the world track and field championships in Doha, Qatar.
Tokyo’s summer heat has been a major worry for Olympic organizers.
Sitting on a table with top IOC official John Coates, Koike said “It is my wish for the marathon and race walk to be held in Tokyo.”
Koike is openly challenging the authority of the IOC and its powerful President Thomas Bach, who has repeatedly called Tokyo “the best prepared Olympic in history.”