German sailor Erik Heil

German sailor Erik Heil has ended up needing hospital treatment for a serious skin infection after competing in a test regatta at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The 26-year-old has undergone an operation on the largest of the five sites infected on his legs and hips and is receiving daily treatment in a Berlin hospital.

Heil finished third with team-mate Thomas Ploessel in the 49er class in the Olympic test regatta from August 5-22 in Rio’s Guanabara Bays where garbage, discarded furniture and dead animals float.

“I have never in my life had a leg infection,” he wrote in a Sailing Team Germany blog.

“I assume that I got it from the test regatta.” 

Heil has been treated with strong antibiotics after contracting a highly-resistant germ and is unable to train.

The inflammations started on the plane trip from Rio and soon after getting off the plane, he sought treatment from Berlin’s Charite hospital, which specialises in tropical diseases.

“The cause was probably from the port at Marina de Gloria, where the waste water flows unabated from the municipal hospital,” added Heil.

The German sailor says he has learnt his lesson and will take extra precautions for next year’s Olympics.

“In future, we will see to it that we arrive relatively late in Rio so that any outbreak of disease happens at the end of the race or back at home,” he added.

“In addition, Thomas and I are considering wearing plastic covers over our normal neoprene shoes.” 

The sports governing body, ISAF, has repeatedly expressed serious concerns about the water quality for Rio’s Olympic regatta and Heil said he hopes the site is moved.

South Korean windsurfer Wonwoo Cho, 20, had to be hospitalised with headaches, dehydration and vomiting during the test regatta while numerous other athletes also complained of feeling unwell after competing, according to reports. – Agence France-Presse

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