Ahead of next summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee have announced a string of measures to mitigate against potential heat issues if the temperatures soar during the tournament, including painting the roads with heat shielding material.
This summer, the Japanese capital has experienced a heatwave which has been linked to the deaths of 57 people and left thousands seeking hospital treatment. The high temperatures in the city during the height of summer were a known issue when it was awarded the Games back in 2013 at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires, and since then organisers have been looking at ways to mitigate it.
Takeo Hirata, a government co-ordinator of the Games, explained in the Japan Times that this has been a question organisers have grappled with since then, with technological measures such as covering roads with heat-shielding material which is thought to lessen temperatures by up to eight degrees celsius.
"The results showed that the temperature of the specially coated road surface was ten percent lower than that of the uncoated surfaces and thus lightened the burden on athletes,” explained Hirata.
Other measures include ensuring trees along the marathon route are not trimmed so as to create shade for spectators as well as directing local buildings with air conditioning to open their doors to fans. Misting stations to spray water at events, air-conditioned cooling tents and potted flower fences to "psychologically" cool spectators and athletes have also been trialled at test events.