British team dismiss smog fears

Beijing's notorious pollution is not having a serious impact on athletes, according to British Olympic chiefs.

The Chinese capital was swathed in fog today after a spell of four clear days but no British competitors have felt the need to resort to wearing face masks which will be made available on request.



Instead the heat - routinely over 35 degrees - and humidity looks to be the more important factors.



Simon Clegg, the British Olympic Association's chef de mission, said: "It's not a concern to us. The expert advice that we are getting is that the situation continues to improve and the measures [shutting factories and limiting traffic] they put in place are still having a positive effect.



"We have had three or four days of outstanding blue-sky weather, and we do not think it is going to be an issue.



"No athletes here have been using face masks."



Clegg said the quality of the facilities in the Olympic Village surpassed anything from past Games.



He added: "There's a really positive atmosphere in the team, people are really excited. They have trained for their whole lives for this moment, and they are like coiled springs waiting to explode.



"The Village is fantastic, absolutely unbelievable - athletes have never had such good conditions as they have here in Beijing."



Ben Hawes, captain of the British men's hockey team, confirmed the smog had had no apparent effect during training today.



He said: "The smog did not seem to affect us when we trained this morning. We have no issues with that - it's mainly the heat and humidity.



"We have been training in Macau for a couple of weeks where it was hotter and more humid so hopefully by the time it comes to the matches we will be used to it.



"It has been 43 degrees (Celsius) pitchside which has been pretty tough but it gets easier every day. You can never cool down due to the humidity so we are using every technique we can to cool players when they come off the pitch, even ice blankets."



The British men famously won gold in 1988 - famous thanks to Barry Davies' unforgettable 'Where were the Germans... and frankly who cares' commentary - but the sport in Britain went backwards during the 1990s and early years of this decade.



Hawes insists that the situation has now changed again for the better.



He added: "Hockey in Britain has changed a lot but we are on an upward spiral now. We have beaten teams consistently that are ranked around us, it's just bridging that gap with the top four.



"We came ninth in Athens in 2004 which was pretty disappointing, so realistically we are aiming for top six this time - and hoping we can go beyond that."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

Secrets of comedy couples

What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

The best swimwear for men

From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer
Mark Hix recipes: Our chef tries his hand at a spot of summer foraging

Mark Hix goes summer foraging

 A dinner party doesn't have to mean a trip to the supermarket
Ashes 2015: With an audacious flourish, home hero Ian Bell ends all debate

With an audacious flourish, the home hero ends all debate

Ian Bell advances to Trent Bridge next week almost as undroppable as Alastair Cook and Joe Root, a cornerstone of England's new thinking, says Kevin Garside
Aaron Ramsey interview: Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season

Aaron Ramsey interview

Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season
Community Shield: Arsene Wenger needs to strike first blow in rivalry with Jose Mourinho

Community Shield gives Wenger chance to strike first blow in rivalry with Mourinho

As long as the Arsenal manager's run of games without a win over his Chelsea counterpart continues it will continue to dominate the narrative around the two men
The unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth - and what it says about English life

Unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth’s elevation to football’s top tier is one of the most improbable of recent times. But it’s illustrative of deeper and wider changes in English life
A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms