Tokyo mulls starting Olympic marathon at 3 a.m. to counter IOC plan to move race to Hokkaido-Kyodo

Tokyo, host of the 2020 Olympic Games, is considering proposing to start the marathon and race walking events as early as 3:00 a.m. to counter an IOC decision to move the races to Sapporo due to worries about heat, Kyodo news agency said on Thursday.

Adds background, Tokyo official's comment

TOKYO, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Tokyo, host of the 2020 Olympic Games, is considering proposing to start the marathon and race walking events as early as 3:00 a.m. to counter an IOC decision to move the races to Sapporo due to worries about heat, Kyodo news agency said on Thursday.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) this month announced a plan to move the marathon and race walking to Sapporo, on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, from originally planned courses in the capital.

Kyodo, citing unnamed sources, said Tokyo is looking into an alternative plan to have the races start at 3 a.m. or 5 a.m. to keep them in the city.

An official at the Tokyo metropolitan government's Olympic preparation bureau told Reuters he was not aware of such a plan.

Yoshiro Mori, the president of Tokyo 2020 Olympics, said the city had little choice but to accept the IOC plan, but Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike believes the races should be held in Tokyo.

"We have made many preparations and there's no change in my thinking that it should be held in Tokyo," she told reporters last week.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka, Billy Mallard; Editing by Toby Chopra and Chizu Nomiyama)

((kiyoshi.takenaka@thomsonreuters.com; +81 3 4563 2788;))

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