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More on Asthma and the Beijing Olympics

Can you tell I like the Australian athletes? Yes I do, I like the fast ITU guys and gals a ton but I also get a press feed and lately the Australian press has been focusing on triathlon a lot so here is one more to add to the mountain pile of concerns regarding athletes and pollution for the Beijing Olympics.

Olympics: Australia tests Beijing-bound athletes for asthma
2008-04-18 06:39 (New York)

MELBOURNE, April 18, 2008 (AFP) – Australia is testing its
athletes for asthma to minimise any impact of air pollution at the
Beijing Games, the Australian Olympic Committee said Friday.
Members of Australia’s triathlon team visited Royal Melbourne
Hospital on Friday to have the 20-minute test, which reproduces the
lung stress of high-intensity exercise.
Australian Olympic team officials are also planning to screen
athletes competing in outdoor endurance events, such as road cycling
and long-distance running.
The International Olympic Committee last month indicated “some
risk” for athletes competing in outdoor endurance events at the
Beijing Games that required more than an hour of continuous physical
effort at high level.
Examples are urban road cycling, mountain biking, marathon
running, marathon swimming, triathlon and road walking.
Australian Emma Snowsill, one of the favourites for the women’s
triathlon gold medal in Beijing, was diagnosed with exercise-induced
asthma last November.
“I’m very thankful we’ve got these sorts of facilities to have
this testing done,” Snowsill told reporters.
“It’s definitely made the world of difference for me in my
preparations so far, I basically feel like a normal person and
athlete again.
“I didn’t realise the asthma was affecting me, it’s definitely
been well worth it.”
Snowsill has competed twice over the Beijing Olympics triathlon
course and said concerns over the air quality were partially
“You definitely appreciate where you come from in Australia …
it’s not the nice, fresh air we’re used to,” she said.
Doctor Karen Holzer, who will be part of the team medical staff,
said the Australian Olympic Committee had ramped up testing ahead of
Beijing because of concerns about air quality.
She said an attack of exercise-induced asthma could affect an
athlete’s performance by “up to 30 percent”.
“If they get a moderate increase in the asthma, it may mean
(they have) to pull out of the event,” she said.
Attempts are being made to improve air quality for the Olympics
with Beijing factory and construction shutdowns to take effect from
July 20.
Beijing’s environmental protection bureau said this week the
city was also planning to ban cars from the roads during the Games.

-0- Apr/18/2008 10:24 GMT

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April 21, 2008 at 9:27 pm
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