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  • Tokyo Test Events Feeling the Heat


    08/14/19

    (ATR) There will be no respite from the Tokyo heat for the four Olympic test events being held over the next few days.

    Mist sprayers were used at beach volleyball test event in July (Getty Images)
    Triathlon begins on Thursday and runs through Sunday at Odaiba Marine Park. Pre-competition activities for sailing begin on Thursday with the competition running from Saturday until Aug. 22 at Enoshima Yacht Harbour.

    The hockey test event runs from Saturday through Aug. 21 at the Oi Hockey Stadium while the 25th 2019 Japan Junior Golf Championship at the Kasumigaseki Country Club, the test event for golf, will complete its three-day tournament on Friday.

    The golfers will actually miss out on the worst of the heat, which will return on Saturday and Sunday. Temperatures of 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius) are forecast for the weekend. Thursday and Friday are expected to top out at about 90 Fahrenheit (32 Celsius).

    Earlier this month, Japanese authorities reported that at least 57 people had died from the heat wave between July 29 and Aug. 4.

    The Tokyo Olympics officially begins on July 24 and concludes on Aug. 9 next summer. The football and baseball/softball competitions begin on July 22.

    Finding ways to help keep athletes, fans and volunteers cool and hydrated has been a priority for Tokyo 2020 organizers. Mist sprays, shaded or air-conditioned rest areas and handing out water and ice packs are some of the efforts being tried at the test events this summer.

    The New Zealand triathlon team arrived a week early and have been training in Japan to get used to the heat.

    But Ryan Sissons tells Radio New Zealand (RNZ) that despite the two-hour race starting at 7:30am, it will feel like 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) by the time the athletes reach the finish line.

    The start time is the same as that planned for the men’s and women’s Tokyo 2020 triathlons, which will be run on July 27 and 28 respectively. The mixed relay, where two men and two women race a sprint triathlon distance, will start an hour later at 8:30am on Aug. 1.

    The International Triathlon Union (ITU) announced on Monday that the Paratriathlon World Cup event on Saturday would start an hour earlier than originally planned due to the heat. All of the races will now be ending before 930am.

    The ITU has also implemented a number of changes for all its athletes competing in the Tokyo test events. Among the most important are the addition of extra water stations on the run course, air-conditioned athletes’ areas both pre- and post-competition, revised heat stress protocols, with specially trained personnel added to the technical teams and trained medical personnel stationed every 500m along the 10km run course.

    Written by Gerard Farek

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