Displaying items by tag: Guanabara Bay
Speaking at an event to mark the lighting of the Olympic torch in Athens on Thursday (21 April), International Olympic Committee president (IOC) Thomas Bach told the media: "We are very confident that the competition area for the athletes will offer safe and fair conditions.
"The city, the state and the organising committee are undertaking many efforts and what we see now is that 60% of the surface is clean," he added. "Without the Games it would be zero."
However, Bach made no reference to concerns over viral contamination of the notoriously polluted Guanabara Bay, nor the risk posed to female sailors by the spread of the Zika virus.
That's according to the latest damning findings from the Associated Press, following from its own investigation earlier this year that found levels of viruses detected at the Olympic sailing venue to be as much as 1.7 million times this allowed on California beaches.
Samples taken more recently now indicate that a high concentration of viruses is detectable even more than a kilometre offshore away from the pollution sources that have plagued Rio's waters for decades.
Despite assurances by the ISAF – which previously floated the idea of moving the sailing venue out of Rio to cleaner waters – that steps were being taken "to ensure the health and safety of all athletes", there was still an illness rate of 7% among sailors competing at an Olympic test event in August.
That figure included 49er bronze medallist Erik Heil, who was treated for severe inflammations in his legs and a hip.
The cause of his illness turned out to be the superbug MRSA, and Heil has since proposed wearing plastic overalls while sailing out from the shore to limit his exposure to that an other bacterial infections.
But experts in waterborne viruses have told the AP that such efforts are futile when Rio's Olympic waterways "are as rife with pathogens far offshore as they are nearer land".
The AP has much more on the story HERE, coming in the same week as the ISAF's chief executive Peter Sowrey resigned after only six months in the job – the latest in a spate of high-profile departures from sailing's world governing body.
#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".