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Olympic hero Scheidt downplays Rio pollution fears

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Rio de Janeiro, March 12 (IANS) Two-time Olympic sailing champion Robert Scheidt has downplayed fears about water pollution at the Rio 2016 sailing venue.

Rio officials have been criticized for perceived slow progress of clean-up work to Guanabara Bay, which remains littered with trash and untreated sewage, reported Xinhua.

But Scheidt, a gold medallist in the laser class at the Atlanta 1996 and Athens 2004 Olympics, on Wednesday said he was confident the bay would be cleaned in time for the Games.

“I don’t think the situation is as critical as some say,” the 41-year-old told Sportv. “I think in summer the situation is worse because there is a lot of rain and that makes the water dirtier.

“During the winter the situation is different. We hope that it improves and that work is done to at least remove floating debris so that it doesn’t interrupt the regattas.”

Scheidt’s comments came as it emerged Rio officials signed an agreement with the Netherlands government for joint action to clean Guanabara bay’s waters.

Last month, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said local authorities were on target to clean 80 percent of the bay before the Games.

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