Battery-powered masks to help Indian athletes train

Will be trialled on a few athletes; experts unsure about feasibility

Battery-powered masks to help Indian athletes train

IOA has tied up with a renowned university that has designed an athlete-specific mask with two big valves to regulate breathing.

Vinayak Padmadeo

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 28

In its efforts to help athletes resume training in full earnest, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) is procuring battery-powered face masks for them. IOA has tied up with a renowned university that has designed an athlete-specific mask with two big valves to regulate breathing.

IOA plans to hand out these masks to around 10-15 athletes on a trial basis.

“I have been a critic of restarting training exercises but we have to realise that this virus is not going away anytime soon,” IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta told The Tribune. “So we have to come up with solutions to keep our athletes safe and at the same time see to it that their training is not affected. This mask hopefully will be of great help.”

“I am told this is safe and some athletes will be given this mask on a trial basis. If we get a satisfactory response, it will be supplied to all Olympics-qualified athletes,” he added.

‘May not work’

While Mehta expects and hopes the mask would work, sports science experts are unsure about it. Sumit Arora, a sports science expert associated with the Manav Rachna Sports Science Centre, says that athletes training with a mask on may not be the right solution.

“We do have examples like the elevation masks or anaerobic training, where athletes are gradually trained to use less and less oxygen. But the drawback of using masks with valves is that there always is air resistance,” Arora explained.

“As you breathe out, you exhale carbon dioxide but some amount stays inside the mask and there is always the danger of someone going into a shock while training,” he added. “Having said that, we need to first have a closer look, break down its working and then make a firmer view about the mask that will be supplied to our athletes.”

SOPs

The Sports Authority of India has come out with detailed 48-page Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to keep the training environment safe for athletes in various national camps.

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