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Rio Olympic Sailing Waters Test '1.7 Million' Times Above Danger Levels For Water-Borne Viruses

31st July 2015

#Rio2016 - The news from Rio just gets worse, as a new report claims tests for viruses in the waters where sailors will compete in next summer's Olympic Games measured up to 1.7 million times above hazardous levels.

As previously reported on, International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach admitted that "challenges" remain in keeping the parts of Guanabara Bay where sailors and other athletes will race free from pollution.

But those challenges may have become a whole lot more difficult, as the Irish Times reports, in light of the findings of a five-month study which show that athletes risk exposure to viruses that could cause illness serious enough to rule them out of competition.

Previous testing for pollutants by local organisers focused on bacteria and not viruses as per WHO guideines.

Some tests for viruses in the notoriously polluted waters of the Brazilian city hit levels millions of times above those considered optimal at Californian beaches.

Despite this latest setback, however, many sailors and coaches from around the world already training on Guanabara Bay are hesitant to switch to a new, cleaner venue - having become familiar with the course at the heart of the Games.

Moreover, the IOC has made no plans to push for a change of venue since the ISAF raised its own concerns in April.

“We’ve had reassurance from the World Health Organisation and others that there is no significant risk of athlete health,” said IOC medical director Richard Budgett.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Olympic
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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