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Bigger medical staff for Aussie athletes

22/10/2007 09:46:17 PM Comments (0)

The Australian Olympic team's medical contingent will work out of a Beijing school specially leased by the Australian Olympic Committee for the duration of next year's Games.

The AOC will establish a recovery centre with swimming pools, ice baths and massage and gym facilities at the school, which will be staffed by Australia's largest ever Olympic medical team.

The AOC will take over 70 "medical specialists", led by Dr Peter Baquie, with a particular emphasis on respiratory problems and heat stress as the Games take place during the Chinese capital's hottest month, August.

The bulk of Australia's athletes will arrive in Beijing a week to five days before the start of competition, many after pre-Games training camps aimed at acclimatising the team.

A similar approach was taken to the 2004 Athens Games, where Australia won 49 medals, after athletes prepared for the hot southern European summer conditions at acclimatisation camps.

"Athletes who deal with it (the heat and air quality) best will be the ones on the medal dais," world champion canoeist Robin Bell said in an AOC statement.

Stomach bugs are also an issue in China, but women`s water polo captain Mel Rippon said Australian athletes were used to food restrictions.

"We travel to places where you have to watch what you eat and drink," she said.

"It is not new to us and we will be well prepared in Beijing."

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