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World Cup weather put to the test by BBC presenter at University of Gloucestershire

By The Citizen  |  Posted: May 21, 2014

  • Dr Kevin Fong

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England will face a real test when they land in Rio de Janeiro next month to begin their World Cup campaign - and not just from some of the finest footballers on the planet.

Scorching temperatures and stifling humidity will make Roy Hodgson’s task of securing England’s first World Cup since 1966 even tougher when coming up against the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Those conditions have been replicated at the University of Gloucestershire in its environmental chamber as part of a test to see just how difficult it will be for players in Brazil.

BBC presenter Dr Kevin Fong visited the facility to see just how hard it will be to perform exercise in the suffocating heat of South America.

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Chris Pitt, from the university, said: “With World Cup fever already kicking off, the England players have been training for what are sure to be some difficult games ahead – but they also face some pretty difficult conditions as well. An exercise physiologist monitored Kevin’s physical activity under high temperatures, altitude and humidity in the chamber, to see what impact these conditions had on his body and ultimately how England will cope in the tropical Amazon climate.

“Dr Fong was joined by anatomist, author and familiar face of British documentaries, Alice Roberts, as well exercise physiologists Steve How and Greg Whyte.

“The results are being used for an event in partnership with the Times Cheltenham Science Festival next month.”

World Cup: Coping in the Amazon takes place on Friday, June 6 from 8.30pm-9.30pm at the Winton Crucible in Imperial Square.

The panel will discuss the results of the chamber, as well as taking a look at film footage of how Kevin coped under these tropical conditions.

Climate researchers have said there is a 60 per cent chance of much-feared weather phenomenon El Nino hitting the country next month.

Scientists say the complicated meteorological system is likely to cause extremely dry and sunny weather in June and July.

El Nino is part of a cycle that occurs every two to five years and is characterised by a rise in sea-surface temperatures in central and eastern parts of the Pacific ocean.

Weather expert Dr Nick Klingaman said: “The event sees large amounts of rain from Asia and Australia transported across to the west coast of the US and South America, often causing floods.

“It can also trigger drought and heat waves.”

England play their first match against Italy in Manaus in the Brazilian rainforest on July 14.

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