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Rio Olympics 2016: Water quality not as bad as reported

The New York Times posted a photo last week of a suspected floating object in Rio's Guanabara Bay, but it has yet to be confirmed whether the object was a human body or something else. Photograph: (Getty)

Reuters Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Aug 14, 2016, 02.40 PM (IST)
The water quality for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games sailing venue is not as bad as what has been reported by the international media, China Central Television learned on Thursday.

Last week, The New York Times posted a photo of a suspected floating object in Rio's Guanabara Bay. The photo is proved to be taken from The New York Times' article Keep Your Mouth Closed: Aquatic Olympians Face a Toxic Stew in Rio on July 26. Similar reports followed one after another since then, though the floating object has yet to be confirmed as a human body or something else.

Several Olympic water events including open water swimming will be held at the Copacabana Beach and a latest statement from the World Health Organization said the water of Copacabana Beach is suitable for sports.

Meanwhile, the water quality at Guanabara Bay has not affected the competition although it was negatively reported.

"I felt that I dare not to go into the water when I came here. But after I began training, it feels not so bad," said Gong Lei, a Chinese rowing athlete.

"Of course it's dirty. But today it improved a lot than last year. So I would say they did something for us. I think we are happy," said a Hungarian rowing athlete.

The Brazilian government has made much efforts to improve the water quality by investing 3 billion US dollars in perfecting the sewage treatment systems, rainwater collecting systems and water supply systems in 1,198 cities from the beginning of this year.

However, the Rio government failed in its commitment to raising the sewage treatment rate from 20 per cent at the time when it was bidding for the event, up to 80 per cent.

Some athletes said the sewage does not affect their competition on the ocean though it is a big challenge near the coast and beaches.

"It's not so good as in Europe for example. But we cannot measure it by ourselves. So we don't know. We have to accept it," said an Austrian athlete.

"On the ocean it's okay for sure. Inside it's not perfect," said another Austrian athlete.

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