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IAAF: Women’s marathon gets green light despite heat concerns

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An athlete trains at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on September 25, 2019 ahead of the IAAF World Athletics Championships. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP)

The women’s marathon at the World Championships will go ahead as planned in Doha here Friday but the start time could still be altered depending on weather conditions, organisers said.

The IAAF said in a statement the wet bulb globe temperature — which measures heat, humidity and other factors – would be at or below 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) which they said was “within the range (28 to 30.9 degrees WBGT) that has been predicted and planned for in the past six months”.

Friday’s marathon had already been moved to an 11.59pm start time in order to shield competitors from the hottest part of the day.

The marathon runners and walkers do not have the luxury of competing in the air-conditioned Khalifa Stadium where the climate is maintained at 23-25 degrees.

“The IAAF has today sent a letter to the entrants in the women’s marathon at the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 confirming that the race will go ahead as planned this evening,” read their statement.

“The latest weather information confirms that the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature* for tonight’s race will be at or below 30 degrees.

“This is within the range (28 to 30.9 degrees WBGT) that has been predicted and planned for in the past six months.”

The IAAF — who received criticism from France’s defending 50 kilometres walk world champion Yohann Diniz earlier on Friday about being made to compete in the humid conditions — said team leaders and their medical staff had been briefed on Thursday about the weather conditions and all the original 69 entrants were still set to compete.

“Any decision to alter the starting time of the event will be made by 10.30pm (1930GMT), on the recommendation of the IAAF Medical Delegate, who also has the authority to withdraw any athlete before or during the event if he believes the athlete is experiencing any type of severe distress.

“The IAAF Health and Science Department sent detailed advice on preparing to compete in extreme heat, in its Beat the Heat brochure, to all Member Federations in June.”


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