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Blame Local Leaders Over Rio Pollution Woes Says British Sailing Chief

13th September 2015

#Rio2016 - The blame for Rio's pollution woes should fall squarely on local political leaders and not on sporting bodies, according to the head of Britain's sailing team.

As Scuttlebut Sailing News reports, Stephen Park says the press should turn its attention to those responsible for the notorious pollution problems in Guanabara Bay – the sailing and windsurfing venue for the 2016 Olympic Games – rather than place the burden on sailing's country leaders to withdraw from the venue.

Park's comments come in the wake of news that another sailor was hospitalised after the recent Aquece test event with a bacterial infection believed contracted in Rio's waters.

According to Sail-World, 49er bronze medallist Erik Heil was treated for severe inflammations in his legs and one hip which he says began on his journey home from Rio.

And the sailor has explicity blamed his illness on the waters of Marina da Glória, where wastewater from the city's hospitals flows openly into the bay, and has had his case taken ip by the German Olympic Sports Confederation, as the Guardian reports.

Heil's post-Rio illness follows that of Kiwi 470 sailor Jo Aleh, who missed three races at Aquece over a bug alleged to be connected with water contamination, and South Korean windsurfer Wonwoo Cho, whose hospitalisation came just days after the ISAF's latest threat to move Olympic sailing events to a new course in the Atlantic.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, a recent investigation into water quality at the current Olympic sailing venue found that athletes are "almost certain to come into contact with disease-causing viruses".

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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