IOC to back schedule changes due to heat if needed

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TOKYO — Intense heat and humidity could force competition schedule changes at the Tokyo Olympics and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Sunday it would back any such plans if needed.

Athletes across several sports have complained that competing in midday heat, where temperatures regularly hit or exceed 33 degrees Celsius (91.4?F), has hampered their performances.

High humidity has added to discomfort, and athletes have failed to find much relief from ice bags and hoses blowing cool air, part of a series of contingency measures brought in by organizers’ to battle the stifling heat.

Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev — the world’s top two men’s tennis players — led calls to organizers on Saturday to move matches to the late afternoon for the rest of the competition to save players from the stifling conditions.

World No. 2 Medvedev suggested moving all matches to the evening.

“Competition schedules have been built where possible to avoid the hottest parts of the day, but that is not possible with every sport,” the IOC’s sports director Kit McConnell said on Sunday.

The ITF said the weather was monitored constantly and should temperatures rise, an advisory group would decide on possible suspension of play. — Reuters

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