Washington, Oct : International golfers were reportedly forced to wear surgical-style face masks during the women’s Reignwood LPGA Classic tournament in Beijing to protect themselves from hazardous smog levels.
The pollution descended on the Chinese capital during its biggest sporting weekend of the year so far, affecting competitors and spectators alike at an LPGA golf event and the China Open tennis championship.
According to CNN, the tournament, which was the first Ladies Professional Golf Association event to be held in China, was marred by the sight of golfers wearing face masks, adding that the play had to be delayed for several hours on Sunday to attempt to give the smog time to clear.
The report mentioned that fans at the China Open, where Novak Djokovic triumphed in the men’s final and Serena Williams in the women’s, were also photographed wearing protective face masks.
The report further said that the pollution level, which led to a drop in visibility to less than 500 meters at times, has led to questions being raised of the viability of international sporting fixtures in Beijing or their continued ability to draw big names.
According to a Chinese sports company director, it was unlikely that Beijing would be able to continue to attract big names at sporting events unless pollution issues were addressed despite offering lucrative cash prizes and bonuses to the athletes.
The Reignwood LPGA Classic was won by one shot by China’s Feng Shanshan, in her second career victory, the report added. (ANI)