Monaco’s Stade Louis II will set a first for athletics when the stadium’s air quality data is delivered around the world in real time during Friday’s IAAF Diamond League meeting.
The stadium was fitted with its first air quality monitoring device last September. The stadium’s second device was fitted in June and Friday’s initiative is designed to raise awareness about air pollution.
Stade Louis II has partnered with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the Monegasque Ministry of Environment and the Monegasque Athletics Federation (FMA) on the initiative.
The FMA is hoping to demonstrate its transparency by sharing air quality data during Friday’s meeting and the IAAF said that other events will be encouraged to follow suit.
Meeting director Jean-Pierre Schoebel said: “I am very happy about this project because it is great progress for athletes’ health as well as spectators. Air quality is something that we should all be concerned about and I hope that this project succeeds and that we will continue it next year for the 34th edition of our meet.”
The IAAF noted that an athlete running at 70 per cent of maximal oxygen uptake for the length of a marathon inhales the same volume of air as a sedentary person would in two whole days. As a result, athletes are becoming more particular about where they train and compete.
Miguel Escribano, business development manager at Kunak, the IAAF’s air quality monitoring device supplier, said: “The activity of athletes happens mostly in the track and every stadium is different.
“So, the challenge is to always be able to monitor as close as possible to the activity in real time and with enough accuracy. Although the data we obtain is not meant to be used for regulatory compliance purposes, with high accuracy, one can build indicators and insights that are useful to protect the health of general population and improve the performance of athletes.
“In Stade Louis II for example, with valuable information on the hourly variability of pollutants, we can identify the best and worst periods of the day for training and competition to avoid hotspots.”
This year’s IAAF World Championships will take place at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar from September 27 to October 6. The IAAF last year hailed the introduction of a world-first air conditioning system at the stadium that will seek to ensure the venue is a comfortable environment for athletes, officials and fans.
Image: V&A Dudush