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Heat, humidity protocols for riders, horses begin in Tokyo

Tokyo, Jul 26 (EFE).- The Federation Equestre Internationale and the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games have begun heat and humidity protocols to “allow our equine and human athletes to optimise their performance in the Tokyo climate,” the FEI said Monday.

Efforts to minimize the impact of heat and humidity on performance have been ongoing since before the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games, the FEI said in a communique.

Thermographic cameras during equestrian events will make it possible to accurately estimate the body temperature from a distance of 5 to 10 meters. It is one of the most important tools for risk prevention for the animals and riders, the international equestrian governing body said.

Monitoring horses in work using thermal imaging cameras allows for monitoring without interfering with athletes, helps with early identification of horses at potential risk of overheating and allows for timely interventions such as rapid cooling during training and warm-up and prior to competing, the FEI said.

Thermal imaging also makes it possible to stop a horse on the Cross Country course and bring mobile cooling units out to provide rapid cooling, the FEI said.

Human athletes and their entourage are provided with shade, tents, and special cooling areas that include cool mist fans.

For the equestrian athletes there are:

-Air-conditioned stables at both Baji Koen and the Sea Forest Park Cross Country venue.

-Training and competitions scheduled for early morning and evening (under floodlights).

-Constant monitoring of current and forecast climatic conditions, working with the official Tokyo 2020 weather provider, Japan Meteorological Agency.

-Constant monitoring of onsite climatic conditions using the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature index, which measures heat stress in direct sunlight, taking into account temperature, humidity, wind speed, sun angle and cloud cover (solar radiation) – every 15 minutes during the Cross Country.

-Constant and close monitoring of horses by a world-class veterinary team, multiple cooling facilities (shade tents, cold misting fans, unlimited ice and water, mobile cooling units etc).

-Specific climate mitigation protocols for training and warm-up and also in-competition.

Olympic Equestrian Dressage competitions are already well underway and by early Tuesday all equine athletes will have settled into their temporary home at the historic Equestrian Park venue in Baji Koen with the arrival of the final batch of Show Jumping horses. EFE


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