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Olympics: IOC working to combat 'extreme heat' during 2020 Tokyo Games

John Coates, chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for Tokyo 2020 (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The International Olympic Committee said Thursday it is planning measures to combat the "extreme heat" that could pose a health risk to athletes, spectators and workers during the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

The games are scheduled from July 24 to Aug. 9, causing concerns that the temperatures in excess of 30 C and high humidity common to the capital in summertime will pose a risk of dehydration and heatstroke.

"We are mindful that we do need to prepare for extreme heat," said John Coates, chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for Tokyo 2020 at a press conference on the final day of the commission's latest visit to the city.

"But this is not the first country to host games in extreme heat and the effect of this is something I was addressing when I visited the rowing course."

Coates, a former rower, highlighted his own sport and surfing -- a new Olympic addition for the Tokyo Games -- as sports in which changeable weather conditions could leave athletes and coaches waiting in potentially perilous conditions.

The Australian said all venues would be analyzed, adding, "We certainly need to make sure there is medical attention available. And it's spectators as well as athletes that we have to take care of."

Coates said large shaded rest and waiting areas would be made available, while large fans and water sprayers would be deployed to keep people cool.

Endurance events such as the marathon and road walks would take place "as early as possible, as we've done at previous games, to beat the heat."

With the IOC determined to keep Olympic budgets under control, Coates said they would respond to Tokyo organizers by Aug. 1 about cost reductions suggested by the local committee on about 30 items that could result in savings of about $100 million.

But he stressed that bigger savings were set to be made through the use of temporary facilities, sport-sharing facilities and by reducing the period of Olympic Village operations from 12 to 10 days before the opening ceremony.

Yoshiro Mori, president of the Tokyo organizing committee, said the budget was continuously being revised in line with IOC cost-cutting guidelines, and that Version 3 of the budget would be completed later this year.

Mori also said the organizing committee's slightly revamped setup, in response to criticisms about poor communication from international sport federations, had been discussed during the Coordination Commission meetings.

Christophe Dubi, the IOC's Olympic Games executive director, said those concerns had been "adequately addressed" by putting two members of local organizing staff -- Koji Murofushi and Hidemasa Nakamura -- in positions to quickly respond to federation concerns.

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