Sailing doves, heat, and humidity are challenges for Tokyo sailors


Rio 2016 Olympics – Sailing – Final – Ladies Skiff – 49er FX – Medal Race – Marina de Gloria – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – 08/18/2016. Sailors start medal races. REUTERS / Brian Snyder

STOCKHOLM, July 1 (Reuters) – When competitions begin on July 25 at Enoshima Marina, about 50 km southwest of Tokyo, Olympic sailing competition participants may have to deal with everything from typhoons to brooding temperatures and Humidity.

The Games take place in the middle of Japan’s tropical summer and typhoon season, with daytime temperatures regularly hitting the high 30s, and during a pre-Olympic event in August 2019, mercury rose to over 40 degrees.

Typhoons bring strong winds with them, which can lead to choppy seas for days afterwards, which could make sailing conditions difficult when hunting for Olympic medals.

Relative humidity is also a factor, rising to over 70% on some days, making conditions uncomfortable for competitors and officials alike. Some countries like Norway have built special facilities to prepare their athletes for what awaits them.

“Our Olympic Committee has built what they call an air-conditioned room, in which we train indoors and we have the temperature and humidity that we can expect in Tokyo,” said the Norwegian sailor Helene Naess, who will compete in Tokyo with her teammate Marie Ronningen, said Reuters.

“It’s about preparing your body for the heat and seeing how much water you are losing and how much you need to rehydrate after a session.”

After taking part in the pre-Olympic race in 2019, the Norwegians know what to expect.

“We arrive almost two and a half weeks before the event starts so that our bodies are better used to the heat,” said Ronningen.

“Some days in the water can be very long and some days are really short. You need to make sure you have the right food and drinks to help you cook when you need it. It’s very important, ”she added.

With 10 sailing gold medals to be won and the possibility of changeable weather, contestants must prove they can adapt quickly to reach the podium.

“I think it depends on who you are – some people react differently to others, and the last time we didn’t react so badly,” said Ronningen of the 2019 event, where she and Naess won the silver medal.

“If you are well prepared, you (the weather) will not be a disadvantage.”

Reporting by Philip O’Connor; Editing by Ken Ferris

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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