Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Trails Held in Raw Sewage
Yesterday, sailing trails for 10 Olympic classes including 49er, Laser, 470, Fin, and windsurfing began in Guanabara Bay ahead of the 2016 Rio Games.
Located in the heart of Rio de Janeiro, with the stunning backdrop of Sugar Loaf Mountain, Guanabara Bay would appear to be the perfect location for such an event. However, since training began last week, the twenty-three Olympic medalists competing have been maneuvering through waters littered with dead animals, television sets, sofas and raw sewage.
Described as "a huge toilet," competing in Guanabara over the next week could be a huge risk to the health of the athletes. The Olympic organising committee have received formal complaints from the Australian team, and back in March, the German sailing team wrote "welcome to the dump that is Rio" on their website.
Back in 2009, when Rio were confirmed as the 2016 hosts, the Olympic committee stated that cleaning up the bay was on their priority list. With exactly 2 years to go until the games begin, Brazilian authorities have promised that 80% of the current pollution in Guanabara Bay will be removed. Despite the Rio de Janeiro state environment department claiming that the Olympic sailors health will not be put at risk, previous attempts to clean up the bay have made little progress.
In 2006, a cleanup plan was implemented as Rio hosted the world environment summit, but today the waters are still a problem. Although health risks are cause for concern, most athletes from the 34 competing countries don't seem hugely affected by the conditions, but ultimately, to ensure a fair race, the waters need to be free of debris and floating obstacles.
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Image Credits: AFP
Article by Jack Bartrop