Press Release28 Sep 2019

50km race walk to go ahead as planned - IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019


Competitors at the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships Taicang 2018 (© Getty Images)

The IAAF has confirmed to athletes competing in tonight’s 50km walk event at the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 that the race will go ahead as planned.

The athletes were informed today that last night’s women’s marathon was completed without any cases of heat stroke, despite very challenging weather conditions for endurance events, including high temperatures and humidity, measuring between 28°C and 30.9°C WBGT*.  

In the women’s marathon 68 competitors started and 40 finished – which is comparable to the completion rate at previous World Championships in Tokyo (1991) and Moscow (2013). Thirty athletes visited the Medical Centre as a precaution. A small number were kept under observation and one athlete was referred to the hospital for observation but later released.

The Medical Centre at the Corniche coped well and efficiently. All athletes who chose to come to the Medical Centre were seen immediately upon arrival, and most were released within 20 minutes.

The same level of medical expertise will be in place for this evening’s event. 

The latest weather information for this evening is slightly improved on last night with the WBGT predicted to be at or below 29°C.

The IAAF and the Local Organising Committee have done everything possible to minimise the heat related risks.  These include:

  • Running the endurance events at midnight
  • Disseminating information to all Member Federations over the last 6 months
  • Increasing the number of refreshment points along the course
  • Over scaling the medical plan for these endurance events
  • Recruiting leading medical experts to be part of the medical team
  • Maintaining communication between IAAF medical doctors and team doctors

IAAF Medical Delegate Stephane Bermon has reassured all competing athletes that the weather would be carefully monitored throughout the day and shared with the teams before the start of the race, to ensure the event is run at an acceptable level of health risk.

Any decision to alter the starting time of the event will be made by 10.30pm, 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.


* The recognised International standard for measuring heat, humidity and thermal stress conditions is Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT).  The IAAF Competition Medical Guidelines recommend that mitigation measures should be implemented in endurance events where the WBGT measure is over 28°C. 

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