Athletics

Race walks to go ahead despite heat: IAAF

2019-09-28 16:30
Sebastian Coe (Getty Images)

Doha - World championships organisers vowed to press ahead with the 50 kilometre walk events later Saturday following a brutal women's marathon in sweltering conditions which saw dozens of runners fail to finish.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said in a statement that the men's and women's 50km events due to get under way at 11.30pm (2030 GMT) local time would go ahead as planned.

The IAAF said Friday's marathon, where 28 of 68 starters failed to finish a race held in sauna-like weather, had recorded no cases of heat stroke.

Despite the high number of competitors that failed to finish, the IAAF said the completion rate was comparable to women's races at Tokyo in 1991 and Moscow in 2013.

A total of 30 athletes visited the medical centre set up at the marathon venue as a precaution.

The IAAF said "a small number" were kept under observation and one athlete was referred to the hospital for observation but later released.

The IAAF's decision to stage the championships in Doha has come under criticism from athletes, particularly those in endurance running and walking events, which are being staged outside.

French decathlon star Kevin Mayer joined the chorus of disapproval on Saturday, describing the decision to stage the championships in Doha as a "catastrophe."

"Clearly by organising the championship here, they didn't put the athletes first, they've mostly put them in jeopardy," said Mayer, the world record holder.

"Even if people aren't saying it out loud, it's obvious it's a catastrophe," he said.

"There is no one in the stadium, the heat is not at all adapted, yesterday we saw about 30 people drop out of the marathon, it's sad."

 

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