Ecuadorian race walkers are set to prepare for Tokyo 2020 in Kitami ©COE

The Ecuador Olympic Committee (COE) is set to hold a pre-Tokyo 2020 training camp for its race walkers in Kitami after signing an agreement with officials in the Japanese city.

COE President Augusto Morán Nuques and Kitami Mayor Naotaka Tsuji penned the deal during a ceremony held virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic.

It is expected the camp will run from July 25 to August 1, four days before the start of the race walk events in Sapporo.

The COE claim Kitami, around 292 kilometres from Sapporo, "will offer the facilities and a suitable environment for the training of our walkers".

"For our country, which is located in South America on the equatorial line, a very diverse country, it is very gratifying to be able to have Kitami as host city, to host and host our athletes in sports where Ecuador has great competitors worldwide," said Nuques.

The signing ceremony was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic ©COE
The signing ceremony was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic ©COE

"Mr Mayor, thank you to the town of Kitami for the reception that I know, it will be very warm from all its inhabitants, and we will be there if conditions allow it in a preseason days before the race walk and marathon competitions in Japan. 

"From now on a piece of Kitami is here in the heart of Ecuador.

"We hope this is the beginning of a very close bond between the city of Kitami and the Olympic Movement of Ecuador."

Sapporo is hosting the Olympic race walks and marathons at Tokyo 2020, pushed back to this year due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The decision to move the events from the Japanese capital to Sapporo proved controversial, although organisers and the International Olympic Committee claimed the capital of Hokkaido prefecture offered better conditions for athletes than Tokyo, where the temperature is expected to be much higher.