Sport

Tokyo weather prompts fears for 2020 Olympics

Japan is reeling under an intense heatwave that has caused fears of similar weather for the mega event.

Tokyo: As the two-year mark approaches for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Japan is being scorched by an intense heatwave that has prompted fears of similar extreme weather when the sporting showpiece takes place in the country.
More than a dozen people have died as temperatures soared above 40 degrees Celsius for the first time since 2013, and the thermometer hit 43 Celsius during an Olympic Stadium media tour on Wednesday. The opening ceremony will be held at the venue on July 24, 2020, a time of year when Tokyo records average temperatures of around 25 Celsius, which combined with severe humidity will create tough conditions for athletes and spectators alike.

Measures to counter heat

Earlier this year, experts warned of the risks of heatstroke at the Games, which runs until Aug. 9, with conditions reaching levels at which sporting activities would normally be halted. The issue is one Tokyo 2020 organisers are taking seriously as they consider a raft of counter measures to battle the extreme heat.

These include increased shelter and cooling fans provided for spectators, and the installation of a ‘Wet Bulb Globe Temperature’ device designed to provide constant feedback to assess levels of heat stress at each venue. The data provided will help organiers adjust conditions for supporters depending on weather.

Heat policy and a priority

Tokyo 2020 organisers also said that they were looking to establish guidelines on whether a scheduled event would be allowed to go ahead if they were worried by the danger posed of extreme temperatures. Officials said solutions for tackling heat would be a priority for Olympics. While beams for the stadium’s inner roof are meant to project warmth and hospitality, an official Keiji Kato explained they were also designed to circulate air to keep spectators cool. Mist fans would also be installed, Kato added.

(With agency inputs)

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