IOC: High temperatures, strong sun could force schedule changes

IOC: High temperatures, strong sun could force schedule changes
Posted at 2:41 AM, Jul 25, 2021

Tennis tournament could be impacted

The hot weather and strong sun has been a topic of conversation amongst athletes competing in Tokyo. On Sunday the International Olympic Committee said they would back any schedule modifications due to the high heat and humidity. 

While the high temperatures have impacted multiple sports, tennis has been one of the most impacted events. As of now, most of the early matches are scheduled for 11:00 a.m. local time, placing athletes under the sun during some of the strongest hours. Temperatures have regularly been over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Organizers have tried to mitigate the heat by offering bags of ice and hoses blowing cold air during events. 

Two of the best tennis stars in Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev spoke about the rising heat temperatures and poor playing conditions. They asked for matches to be moved to late afternoon or the evening for the rest of the tournament. 

The IOC's sports director Kit McConnell responded to the the duo's plea with "competition schedules have been built where possible to avoid the hottest parts of the day but that is not possible with every sport." Competitions at the Games and the times they start are determined by their respective international sports federations. For tennis that would be the International Tennis Federation (ITF). McConnell added, "generally it has been working well. The International Tennis Federation is looking at that and we will support them in any measures they are looking at."

The ITF has been monitoring the weather and if the temperatures do not improve and advisory group would be formed to contemplate a possible suspension of play. 

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Other impacted sports

Other events and athletes that have been impacted include Russian archer Svetlana Gomboeva who collapsed two days ago from sunstroke. 

Skateboarders also remarked on the sunny and hot conditions. The Ariake Urban Sports Park offers no protection from the sun. The skaters said that it was already unbearable at 9 a.m. in the morning and a distraction while performing their tricks. 

Yahoo Tenki, one of Japan's most popular weather apps, sent out warning about the risk of heatstroke in the coming days saying users should "avoid exercising under the sun" and "minimize vigorous exercise", which for Olympic athletes is a lot easier said than done.