Indian Athletes In Bhutan For High-Altitude Training Ahead Of Asian Games
Athletes from many sports use high-altitude training for a few weeks before a major match or event.
Staff reporter | Bhutan Times
A 17-member team from India is heading to the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan to train for the upcoming Asian Games, held in Jakarta in August.
The country’s middle and long distance runners, along with three coaches and a masseur, arrived in Bhutan on Monday (May 21) for four weeks. They will be training at the Thimphu Track and Field Centre in the capital, reported Times of India.
Some of the athletes who are currently in Bhuta are Sudha Singh, PU Chitra, L Suriya, Lakshmanan Govindan, Gopi Thonakal, Ajoy Kumar Saroj and Jinson Johnson.
According to Times of India, another 14-member team of quarter milers are currently in Spala, Poland for training.
First high-altitude training for Indian runners
This is the first time Indian middle and long distance runners are sent abroad for training.
Thimphu was considered an ideal training location due to its altitude of 2,500m above sea level and also low cost, said the President of Athletics Federation of India, Adille Sumariwalla. This is higher than the usual training locations in Ooty and Dharamsala, and the facility also has a good synthetic track, he added.
Why athletes train at high altitudes
Athletes from many sports use high altitude training for a few weeks before a major match or event. The effect is most dramatic at altitudes above 2,438 meters, according to LiveScience.
At such high altitudes, there are fewer oxygen molecules per volume of air, so every breath taken delivers less of what working muscles require. To compensate for decrease in oxygen, one of the body’s hormones erythropoietin (EPO), triggers the production of more red blood cells to aid in oxygen delivery to the muscles, delivering fuel to muscles.
By training at high altitudes, athletes can aim to allow the body to produce extra red blood cells. The effect lasts for 10 to 20 days. They then head to competition at lower elevation with their changed physiology.