By Ju-min Park and Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber
TOKYO (Reuters) -A Russian archer recovered after fainting 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.
“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.
Later she said that she would resume competing.
“I feel okay, my head hurts a lot. I can and I will shoot!” Gomboeva, who finished the round 45th among 64 archers, wrote in her Instagram story.
Andrei Zholinsky, chief doctor for the Russian Olympic team, said the cause was a sunstroke and they would change her hydration and rest regime.
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.
But, the attendees were gathering under canopies and tree shades, while watching the games throughout the day.
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.
Some archers said they are used to the heat, and were more concerned about wind direction that is difficult to predict.
“I am excited it is not cold,” said world champion Brady Ellison from the United States. He finished a qualifying round with the second top score among 64 men archers.
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)