The scorching heat in Japan claimed another victim during the women’s Olympic Games golf competition with US star Lexi Thompson’s caddie pulling out with heatstroke.
With the heat index pushing toward way above 100F, Thompson walked to her second shot on the 15th hole when her caddie, Jack Fulghum, had to take a break from the weather, as the mercury nudged 34C but felt more like 40C due to humidity out on the course.
“He just asked me: ‘Do I look white to you?’ And I said I didn’t really notice, but he just didn’t look good. I just want him to be healthy, that’s all,” Thompson said.
Fulghum said he felt like he was going to pass out and Thompson told him to sit down in the shade. He was replaced on Thompson’s bag by Donna Wilkins, a team leader for Team USA, for the final three holes while Fulghum was treated for heat sickness.
Thompson finished her round with a one-over-par 71, six strokes behind leader Madelene Sagstrom at Kasumigaseki Country Club. Maha Haddioui, the only Arab in the field, also posted 71 while India’s Aditi Ashok finished on four under, just one stroke behind Sagstrom.
Fulghum’s battle with the searing temperatures comes in the wake of another heat-related incident in Olympic women’s golf. During a practice round yesterday, Filipino golfer Yuka Saso’s caddie Lionel Matichuk was rushed to the hospital due to heat stroke on Tuesday.
This year’s Games have been one of the hottest on record and organisers have deployed a host of tools — from mist-spraying stations to cooling vests to AI gadgets that warn of heatstroke risk — to beat the heat while handing out salt tablets and ice cream to volunteers.
Last week, tennis matches were forced to start later each day after players requested a schedule change due to the high heat and humidity while some 30 people involved in the organisation of the Olympics have suffered heat-related illness so far.