Tokyo 2020: Great Britain athletes given advice on where to sit on planes

Great Britain
Members of the Paralympics GB Team show their medals aboard a plane coming back from the Rio Paralympics in 2016

Great Britain's Olympic and Paralympic athletes will be given advice on the best places to sit on airplanes to avoid infections.

Competitors heading to the Games in Tokyo next summer will be issued with information on how best to stay healthy, including hand-washing techniques and tips on diet.

"We don't want people to bag our seats so I won't go into specifics, but not near the toilet," said Craig Ranson, the director of athlete health at the English Institute for Sport.

"[We teach athletes] about how they can clean their seat in the plane and where to sit in the plane so the air-conditioning leaves them less exposed to bugs from other people in the plane.

"When athletes are in camps or during Games time, if one gets a cold they can all get a cold. So it's about teaching some really basic things to avoid that cross-infection.

"We have some great technology which teaches them about how to wash their hands effectively so you don't get contamination of bugs that way."

Ranson, who said that the British Olympic Association was "really on top of this", said his organisation had already managed to bring down the number of athletes getting ill in the period after Christmas 2018.

"No surprises we have a spike in illnesses in January," he said. "Athletes go home for Christmas and then come back and we see a spike every January over the last four years.

"We ran an illness prevention campaign around keeping airways moist, and hygiene, healthy recipes from our nutritionists, and whether it was a direct result or not we had 40% fewer illnesses last January than previously."

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