first_imgWomen boxers training for a world championships starting in the Indian capital this week are wearing surgical masks, scarves and even T-shirts across their mouths as the level of air pollution rises several times beyond the safe limit.The AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships is taking place in an indoor stadium from Thursday through to Nov. 24 but teams are complaining about a toxic smog hanging over the city, caused by seasonal burning of crop stubble and emissions from vehicles and industry.The weather, with no wind to blow the pollution away, has aggravated the problem in one of the world’s most polluted cities.Also Read – Dayana aims at Olympic glory after pro success”My family is worried. We know it is not good for our body,” said 27-year old Bulgarian Stanimira Petrova, a gold-medalist in the bantamweight category in the championships in 2014.”It’s difficult. I wear a scarf but I have to get accustomed.”On Tuesday, the level of deadly particulate matter PM 2.5 that lodge deep in the lungs was at 403, about eight times the safe limit, according to a reading buy the pollution control board.Also read – Mary Kom raises concern over Delhi air pollution ahead of AIBA World ChampionshipsAuthorities have banned the entry of heavy vehicles into the city and ordered construction work to stop and sprinklers to keep down the dust. But the air quality remains in the severe zone.Seven European boxers who Reuters spoke to complained that the air left a bad taste and irritated their eyes.advertisementREAD – Mary Kom named brand ambassador of 2018 Women’s World Boxing Championships 7 European boxers have complained that the air left a bad taste and irritated their eyes (Reuters Photo)Their coaches said they were advised about the poor air but organizers had not given them any protective gear.Also Read – Republic of Kosovo boxers face Indian visa issuesIndian Olympic flyweight bronze medalist M.C. Mary Kom is among those taking part.French coach Anthony Veniant said he had asked for the tournament to be moved out of Delhi but his request was turned down.”We feel the air is no good. Some of the parents of these players are worried and we tell our players to restrict their time outside,” Veniant said.Prolonged exposure to high levels of PM 2.5 and PM 10, another pollutant, leads to respiratory illnesses. Doctors in Delhi have reported an increase in the number of patients with respiratory problems. Athletes haven’t been provided with any protective gear yet by the tournament officials (Reuters Photo)Jay Kowli, secretary general of the Boxing Federation of India, said the air quality was being monitored in training arenas, boxing venues and the hotel where the athletes are staying.He ruled out any change of location.”Shifting the venue is impossible. Delhi has the best sports facilities in the country,” Kowli said.Teams have been hard at training this week.Daniel Nash, the coach for the Swedish team, said pollution was a problem, but he had asked the boxers to focus on the competition.”I’m telling my players to not let this issue affect their game,” Nash said.Contestants just have to deal with it, said Abdul Fkiri, the coach of the Dutch team.last_img

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