- 29 Jul 08, 05:40 PM
The first thing that strikes one about Macau is the heat.
And "strikes" is the operative word. A thermal wave hit me like a wall as I emerged from my air-conditioned ferry.
The women's hockey team, desperate to atone for their calamitous failure to even make the Games in Athens, are the first members of the British squad to taste Macau and its climate.
"It's something else," admitted coach Danny Kerry as I watched him oversee training. "It's like running through treacle."
Team captain Katie Walsh is trying to take the heat off her team concerned only about erasing the memory of four years ago.
"The worst moment of our careers," she told me.
And as they limbered up with a light-hearted game of Frisbee, Walsh sounded upbeat about their chances of even being in the medal mix. First up are Olympic champions Germany on 10 August.
"We hope to catch them cold, that's our Baldrick-style cunning plan!" says Kate.
The humidity clearly is not dampening her sense of humour.
Beth Tweddle could be forgiven for feeling hot and bothered even though her expertise takes her indoors away from the challenging climate.
GB's finest-ever gymnast by a distance, has endured a frustrating year hampered by ankle problems.
Now affable team coach Adrian Stan tells me she's getting over a rib muscle injury which he describes as "'minor but unsettling".
It's clearly hampering her preparations; the former World and European uneven bars champion moved rather gingerly about her training today.
And Mr Stan tells me she will spend an extra three days on the island where she can use softer mats before she rejoins the rest of her colleagues in Beijing on Monday.
Oh yes, the heat is definitely on.
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