Doubts over Rio 2016 sailing venue

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Rio de Janeiro, Aug 24 (IANS) Sailing’s world governing body could shift Rio 2016 Olympic events out of Guanabara Bay due to pollution, organisers said.

A course used for an official Olympic test event was moved on Friday (August 21) due to water quality concerns.

According to the website, the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) will confirm “in the next few weeks” which courses would be used during next year’s games, Xinhua reported on Monday.

“This was a big test of our flexibility, using all six courses – three inside and three outside the bay,” ISAF competition director Alistair Fox said.

“We also had to take into consideration what was done last year. For the games, we know about the pollution challenge,but also we know the work that is being done and because of this we are confident that the competition will happen in the best possible way.”

The Nacra 17 test event, originally scheduled for Friday, was postponed to Saturday and relocated to waters near Pai Island, in Rio’s neighbouring city of Niteroi.

Officials said the change was due to “wind conditions”, without providing further details.

“We have had two opportunities to test the water monitoring, carried out in the partnership with the state government, and we only saw advances,” said Gustavo Nascimento, Rio 2016’s venue management director.

“We had about 400 people working, including staff, volunteers and contractors and we also only saw progress in terms of their integration. Of course we have a lot of work in front offs, in terms of controlling flows and accreditation, for example, this is fine tuning.”

Earlier, ISAF chief Peter Sowrey said all events would be shifted to the Atlantic Ocean if the bay’s conditions did not improve.

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