TOKYO (Reuters) - The marathon race at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics will start 30 minutes earlier than originally scheduled, as part of the organizers’ efforts to tackle the heat threat to athletes and fans in the Japanese capital.
With less than a year to go until the start of the Olympics, the Games’ ability to contend with extreme heat is a key talking point, particularly after a worker at a Tokyo 2020 construction site died on Thursday, with heatstroke suspected as the cause.
Soaring temperatures have killed at least 57 people across Japan since late July, highlighting the possible health threat to athletes and fans.
While announcing the full schedule of the Paralympics, which runs from Aug. 25-Sept. 6, organizers said changes were being made to accommodate the high temperatures, including starting the marathon at 6.30 a.m. local time (2130GMT).
"As it has been discussed a lot, the heat countermeasures are something we must take into consideration. Even though it will be held at the end of August it will still be hot,” said Games director Koji Murofushi.
"From the ‘athletes first’ point of view, the start time of marathon has been moved 30 minutes early from 7 a.m. to 6.30.
Besides high temperatures, organizers may have to contend with Japan’s notoriously devastating typhoon season, which usually runs from July to October.
Murofushi did not provide details of Tokyo 2020’s measures should a huge typhoon hit during the Paralympics but said a contingency plan was in place.
Tickets for the Paralympics will go on sale for Japanese residents in a lottery starting on August 22, with ticket prices for groups and families starting for as little as 500 yen ($4.75).
The low-priced tickets are aimed at under-12 children and those with disabilities in a bid to boost attendance and interest in the Games.
The most expensive tickets are for the opening ceremony on Aug. 25. The highest category will cost 150,000 yen (about $1,427) while the costliest sports are the finals of the swimming and wheelchair basketball.