Aspetar, the leading specialised orthopaedic and sports medicine hospital, has unveiled its upgraded artificial altitude acclimatisation facility.
The facility is the “first fully-integrated dormitory in the world”, enabling teams to benefit from advanced high-altitude recovery practices in a comfortable environment, Aspetar has said in a press statement.
The “state-of-the-art” facility houses 25 bedrooms for single and double occupancy as well as two spacious common living areas, each with capacity to allow 8-10 people to relax in comfort.
Both the bedrooms and living areas are capable of creating an artificial environment equivalent to 5,500m in altitude, double the performance of the previous system and slightly more than base camp on the south side of Mount Everest, the statement notes.
The new dormitory is fitted with an upgraded altitude engine that incorporates a completely new nitrogen generation system and a “state-of-the-art” control panel, while maintaining the existing bedrooms and technical areas.
At full capacity, it takes approximately 4-5 hours for all rooms to achieve the maximum target altitude of 5,500m.
Each room can be individually programmed from a central panel within the control room, however, and when fewer rooms are in operation, it takes even less time to reach the maximum altitude.
The facility includes numerous safety features, including a CO2 monitoring system and an emergency shut-off system.
The facility also uses advanced technology that enables conditions to be monitored remotely from anywhere in the world.
Dr Mohamed Ghaith al-Kuwari, acting director-general of Aspetar, said: “Aspetar has upgraded this dormitory based on its 10-year experience to become one of the most prominent service providers of sports medicine and performance development in the world.
Hypoxic training is one of the well-known practices that has been utilised to enhance athlete performance during competitions.
This upgraded facility is one of the world’s largest and houses up to 50 athletes at a time, allowing entire teams to benefit from high-altitude recovery and adapt themselves to decreased levels of oxygen.
“Such a facility will assist both local and international athletes from different disciplines, particularly runners, cyclists and triathletes and we encourage all sports federations in Qatar to benefit from this practice and the knowledge of our experts.”
The new altitude facility is designed specifically for elite sports training camps, sports rehabilitation, research projects and pre-acclimatisation for mountain climbing.
It allows athletes to improve endurance by stimulating the body to increase production of red blood cells, thus increasing the proportion of oxygen in the blood.
High-altitude recovery is a rapidly developing area of science popular with athletes pushing themselves to their limits, such as Tour de France cyclists.
What sets this facility apart from others, however, is the fact that it is located only a stone’s throw from Aspetar’s wider medical service centres and the Aspire Zone training facilities, giving visiting teams the reassurance that all their training and recovery needs will be catered for without the need to travel.
In addition, athletes also have complete access to Aspetar’s medical experts, who are ready to pass on their extensive knowledge of hypoxic training and other advanced sports medicine practices.
In June 2016, Aspetar welcomed the South African Olympic swimming team for the sixth time in a two-week altitude training camp in preparation for the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics.
Following that trip, the 200m freestyle silver medallist, Chad le Clos, described his experience at Aspetar by saying: “Whenever the team and I have travelled here, we have been made to feel right at home.
The support and expertise of the team and world-leading equipment and facilities have been a real help in enabling me to train and perform to the best of my abilities.”