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  • IOC Won't Test Rio Bay for Viruses


    (ATR) The IOC Rio 2016 Coordination Commission says it will not add viral testing to their monitoring of the water quality in Guanabara Bay.

    All hands on deck for the Coordination Commission (ATR)
    IOC Executive Director Christophe Dubi, said that the IOC will recommend Rio de Janeiro state government officials maintain the guidelines from the World Health Organization in testing the water quality.

    Dubi along with Rio 2016 Coordination Commission chair Nawal El Moutawakel, Rio 2016 president Carlos Nuzman, and Rio 2016 chief executive Sidney Levy addressed the press after the ninth Coordination Commission for the 2016 Games.

    “The WHO is very clear that bacterial testing is what should be followed, and their guidelines are clear,” Dubi said.

    “As far as we are concerned, we have received confirmation from state authorities that this will continue to be the case. We have also heard that these measures and these testings will make sure that the water will be safe for the athletes, and the answer is we will continue this testing.”

    El Moutawakel said that the IOC is very aware of the matter, and that the health of the athletes is being protected ahead of the Games. The comments come after reports of illnesses emerged from the 2015 World Junior Rowing Championships from Aug. 6-8 from the United States team.

    One United States rowing coach said that the illnesses were directly related to the water in the Lagoa de Freitas, while the International Federation and IOC officials were quick to dismiss these claims.

    “Regarding the water quality, I think the IOC puts in the highest priority in the athletes,” El Moutawakel said.

    “We are doing their most that this issue of water quality is heavily dealt with so the athletes can compete in a secure and safe environment.”

    At the end of the press conference El Moutawakel jokingly said that she, Christophe Dubi, and Rio 2016 troubleshooter Gilbert Felli will dive into Guanabara Bay to show how safe the water is for athletes.

    Christophe Dubi (ATR)
    “Our objective was always to be this field of play would have the quality of water ensured for the athletes, and that will be delivered,” Dubi said.

    “The monitoring will continue from this month until the Games. Games time we will have competitions with the greatest athletes in the very best setting you have ever seen in the Olympic sailing competition.

    In addition to quelling fears over the water quality, the IOC and Rio officials reiterated that the current political unrest in Brazil is having little to no effect on the Games.

    “The Olympic Games enjoy a strong support from Brazilians even in this political crisis,” El Moutawakel said.

    “Test events will continue even though we will change some routes, and the manifestations will take place. The IOC is not against those manifestations, as they are not for any cause. We still enjoy support from all levels within the country.”

    A protest against the current government, scheduled for Aug. 16 in Copacabana Beach, has impacted the road cycling test event slightly. The starting line in Copacabana has been moved to the end of the beach to accommodate the protests, and the race will end in São Conrado to avoid running into protesters.

    In addition, Rio 2016 officials say they are do not think that funds will be diverted from the Federal Government.

    “The federal government is taking over the full solutions for security and also for energy; we are pretty confident that they will provide everything we need,” Levy said.

    Nawal el Moutawakel (ATR)
    The Coordination Commission continued to support the efforts of Rio 2016, but said that as the planning shifts to the operation side of the game, the organizers must deal carefully with “millions of operational details.”

    “We have been delighted to see the unity of strength and spirit that is driving everyone to deliver a very successful wave of test events,” El Moutawakel said.

    “From now on until the Games tremendous amount of planning work remains to be completed. It is now about dealing in a timely manner with millions of tiny operational details. 

    “I believe that there will be at the end of the Games, Brazil and Rio before the Games, and then Rio and Brazil after the Games. By working as one team Brazil is showing the world that it can deliver a great Olympic Games.”

    Written by Aaron Bauer in Rio de Janeiro

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