Air quality and heat stress during the World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023

The goal was to provide athletes with clear information and recommendations to minimise exposure to air pollutants and heat stress.


Elite athletes will compete in extreme heat more frequently as global warming and sport globalisation. In addition to longer heatwaves, air pollution episodes are on the increase. To protect athletes from the harmful impact of air pollution during competition, World Athletics the world governing body of Athletics track & field has committed to record air quality during all World Championships Events.

The aim of this project is to have real-time monitoring and data compilation over several weeks prior to the competition to identify site-specific pollution patterns but also their source. The goal in Budapest was to characterize the air quality in the warm-up stadium and to provide athlete communities with clear information and recommendations to minimise exposure to air pollutants and heat stress. Access to live data during the world championships was made possible by the development of a specific widget accessible via this link.

The Wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT) measures heat stress in direct sunlight. It is a comprehensive measure of all the weather-related factors that impact the health and performance of athletes. Kunak was contracted to monitor heat stress with the development of a specific WBGT probe in conjunction with air pollutants.


Deployment of a Kunak AIR Pro station, powered by a solar panel in the warm-up stadium 6 weeks before and during the competition and use of a specific WBGT probe to measure heat stress.

Development of a widget to communicate in real time the data obtained by the Kunak AIR station.


The simplest and most effective mitigation strategy is to minimise exposure when pollution levels are highest. Hyper-local air quality monitoring can help by providing guidance to all stakeholders involved in this ecosystem (stadium operators, competition organisers, athletes…). Moreover, sports organizers has a social responsibility to ensure that every athlete, stadium worker or spectator won’t have a health concern during a sporting event due to climatic conditions or poor air quality.