The Japan Association of Athletics Federations voiced its dissatisfaction Tuesday with the International Olympic Committee's decision to move the 2020 Tokyo Games marathon and race walk events to Sapporo, saying it disadvantaged athletes whose preparations were already well under way.
"It is the wrong decision. To make such a ruling at this late stage is regrettable," JAAF development director Kazunori Asaba said. "It is not in keeping with the IOC's credo of 'athletes first.'"
The IOC last month announced it was moving the road races from Tokyo to the northern city in Hokkaido to spare competitors from the capital's sweltering temperatures in early August.
The move was prompted by disastrous scenes at the athletics world championships in September in Doha, where dozens of runners dropped out of the women's marathon, many with severe heat exhaustion.
Japan held Olympic marathon qualification trials in September on roughly the same course originally planned for Tokyo, with two male and two female runners selected.
"Even if you're suddenly told you must go to Sapporo, you can't automatically change your mental preparation," former marathoner and JAAF marathon development project team leader Toshihiko Seko said.
Seko called for the new race schedule and course to be determined as quickly as possible.
"The men's marathon ought to be held (as usual) on the last day of the games, with the medal ceremony held as part of the closing ceremony," he said.
After initially voicing strong opposition to the IOC's abrupt decision to relocate the races, Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike on Friday reluctantly accepted the move.