- Wednesday 26 Feb 2020
Australian Open sets air pollution limit after bushfire smoke anger
PTI, Jan 18, 2020, 9:43 AM IST
Melbourne: Australian Open organizers Saturday introduced a scaled air quality rating to determine when play can be suspended following stinging criticism after days of toxic smoke during qualifying.
Air quality in Melbourne was among the worst on the planet on Tuesday and only marginally better Wednesday because of smoke from bushfires that have devastated huge swathes of the country.
It was recommended that people and their pets stay indoors, but qualifying for the opening Grand Slam of the year went ahead regardless.
Slovenian Dalila Jakupovic was forced to retire from her match after a distressing coughing fit, while Britain’s Liam Broady claimed “multiple” players needed asthma medication.
Broady also was seething over what he considered a lack of clarity on the decision-making process about when to suspend play.
“The more I think about the conditions we played in a few days ago the more it boils my blood,” he said.
In the wake of the backlash, organizers Saturday unveiled a five-step “air quality rating” based on pollutants measured by monitoring stations throughout Melbourne Park.
Play will be suspended if the particulate matter rating (PM2.5) the solid and liquid particles suspended in the air — hits 200, or five on the air quality scale.
Between 97 and 200 a four rating will trigger a discussion between medical staff and officials about whether play should continue with the match referee able to suspend a match if he sees fit.
The rules will apply to all outside courts and the Grand Slam’s three arenas with retractable roofs, where the play will be halted until the roof is closed.
Matches will continue until an even number of games in the set has been played, or at the end of a tiebreak, if applicable.
“I do think air quality for sport and for tennis is a conversation we’re going to have more of in the future, Australian Open chief Craig Tiley told reporters on Thursday in seeking to diffuse the backlash.
“Absolutely we understand the anger,” he added.
“We’ve invited the players to come in at any time and have a conversation.”
The Australian Open gets underway on Monday when rain is forecast. Air quality in Melbourne on Saturday was rated ‘moderate’, one step below ‘good’.
US President Donald Trump sent social media into a frenzy on Monday for mispronouncing cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar's name at the 'Namaste Trump' e....
Chennai: Chennai Super Kings captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni will start his training here from March 2 along with other players ahead of season-13 of the....
New Delhi: India skipper Virat Kohli was on Tuesday, February 25 named in the Asia XI squad to take on a Faf du Plessis-led World XI in next month's B....
Seoul: The International Table Tennis Federation said the event, originally planned for March 22-29, had been provisionally rescheduled for June 21-28....
Wellington: Indian captain Virat Kohli has exhorted his batsmen to shun ultra-defensive approach heading into the must-win second Test against New Zea....
New Delhi: Delhi Police on Tuesday said 10 people, including one policeman, have been killed in the violence in northeast Delhi and they are respondin....
New Delhi: With six Supreme Court judges infected with H1N1 or swine flu, Chief Justice of India S A Bobde Tuesday held a meeting with judges of the a....
New Delhi: US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that issues involving the Citizenship (Amendment) Act are up to India and asserted that Prime Min....
New Delhi: Describing Indo-US relations as "one of the most important partnerships" of the 21st century, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said ....
New Delhi: Delhi topped the list of most polluted capital cities in the world in 2019, according to a new report which also revealed that 21 of the wo....