Rio’s polluted waters where Olympic sailing will take place next year will be in good shape by the time the Games start, IOC President Thomas Bach said Tuesday.
“What is important is that we’ll have good conditions for the athletes where the competition is taking place,” Bach said in Rio de Janeiro, where he is marking the 12-month countdown to the world’s biggest sporting event.
Bach said that an Olympic warm-up triathlon held over the weekend, with competitors swimming off Rio’s Copacabana beach, showed that “everything is going in the right direction.”
However, environmentalists say that pollution is much worse in the nearby Bay of Guanabara where Olympic sailing and windsurfing will be held. Huge amounts of raw sewage from the Rio urban area currently pour into the bay, along with large quantities of floating garbage.
Officials say they will not be able to meet their original goal of stopping 80 percent of the pollution by the Olympics.
“It has to be monitored closely,” Bach said. “In one year from now I think we’ll have a great competition.”
Bach said that preparations for the huge event were going well.
“I have no special worries because I’m very confident the organizing committee and all levels of government will continue in this dynamic way,” he said. “In one year from tomorrow we’ll all be overwhelmed by the wonderful opening ceremony and the hospitality.” – Agence France-Presse