Punishing heat and stinky water put off swimmers big-time at a test event in Tokyo Bay for the 2020 Games, with one entrant saying parts of the course smelled like a toilet.
After several days of 35-degree heat in the capital, the start time for the Aug. 11 open water event off the Odaiba waterfront district was changed from 10 a.m. to 7 a.m. for men, with women due to start at 7:02 a.m., in light of concerns about rising water temperatures.
The International Swimming Federation (FINA) sets an upper limit of 31 degrees for water temperature to minimize the health risk to athletes.
As of 5 a.m. on Aug. 11, the water temperature was 29.9 degrees.
“It was grueling,” said a female swimmer after finishing the 5-kilometer race. She added that she was concerned she might suffer heat stroke due to the high water temperature and scorching sun.
The 10-km circular course event is currently scheduled to start at 7 a.m. for men and women in next year’s Olympics, which run from July 24 to Aug. 9.
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Photo by Cane Kong