A Russian archer fainted in the Tokyo heat during a qualifying Olympic round on Friday as a heatwave pushed coaches and staff to huddle under trees for shade.
Svetlana Gomboeva collapsed as she checked her final scores and required assistance from staff and teammates who put bags of ice on her head to cool her down.
“We hope that she will be okay. It turns out that she couldn’t stand a whole day out in the heat,” coach Stanislav Popov told reporters.
“This is the first time I remember this happening. In Vladivostok, where we were training before this, the weather was similar. But humidity played a role here.”
Gomboeva quickly regained consciousness after collapsing but needed to be taken out of the arena on a stretcher by medical officers.
Team mate Ksenia Perova said later that Gomboeva was recovering well and would be able to resume competition.
“Everything is fine with Sveta now,” she said.
With temperatures expected to peak around 33 degrees Celsius (91 Fahrenheit) in the archery dome on the first day of competition, athletes had challenges with hydration and staying cool as well as those posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Spectator stands at the Olympic archery venue were empty, with fans mostly banned from the pandemic-hit Games. But, soaked in sweat, volunteers and venue staff were moving around to remind participants to wear masks and maintain physical distances.
South Korea’s Kang Chaeyoung, who came third in the individual ranking rounds, said she had not experienced anything like Tokyo’s heatwave conditions in other recent events.
Australia’s Alice Ingley had some simple advice for her fellow competitors on how to beat the heat.
“Cooling vest, slushies, fans, umbrellas, just all that, just try to keep out of the heat as much as possible,” Ingley told Reuters after her competition.
“And drink water as much as possible.”
(Reporting by Ju-min Park and Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Stephen Coates and Muralikumar Anantharaman)