Odori Park in central Sapporo has been designated as the location for the start and finish of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic marathons and race-walking, after the Olympic organizing committee reached an agreement with Sapporo City and Hokkaido Monday.
The committee made the announcement following a second working-level meeting with city and prefectural officials that was closed to the public. The committee now aims to gain approval from the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee in early December.
Yasuo Mori, deputy executive director of the organizing committee's Games Operations Bureau, stressed the advantage of having the races start and finish in the same place, as it means there is no need for separate security, facilities and equipment, as would in the case for different locations.
At the meeting, the committee proposed a marathon course that would entail two laps of an about 20-kilometer loop in the center of the city. The racewalking course would go back and forth along a wide north-south street in front of Sapporo Station, measuring 1 kilometer round-trip for the 20-kilometer race (20 round trips) and 2 kilometers round-trip for the 50-kilometer race (25 round trips).
World Athletics, the world governing body for athletics formerly known as the International Association of Athletics Federations, must also approve the courses.
In the case of the marathon, World Athletics has suggested a loop course of six laps, which would be more efficient.
The organizing committee, city and prefecture plan to hold a third meeting as early as this month to discuss course proposals and competition schedules.
— The Washington Post