FINA: Athletes Who Participated In Olympic 10K Test Event In Rio Not Sick

Jul 12, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Competitors race at the start of the men's open water swim during the 2015 Pan Am Games at Ontario Place West Channel. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports
Photo Courtesy: Erich Schlegel/USA Today Sports Images

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The 50 swimmers who participated in the official test event for the 10K marathon swim in Copacabana Bay off the coast of Rio de Janeiro last month are not experiencing any physical ailments, according to tests conducted by FINA.

Concerns over the water quality on Copacabana Beach, where the Olympic 10K swim will be held next August, have been raised for many months. Various organizations, such as Greenpeace, have voiced objections to having competition of any kind in Rio’s waterways. An independent study by The Associated Press found human feces and other waste in the water that could make athletes extremely ill.

FINA, the international governing body for aquatic sports, had not joined the list of groups questioning water safety until earlier this week, when FINA President Julio Maglione demanded more testing of the Rio waterways to make sure athlete health will not be at risk at the Olympics.

In coordination with the 12 national federations that sent athletes to the test event, the FINA Medical Committee contacted the 50 athletes who swam in the event and found “no notice of any subsequent health issue” among any of them, according to a press release from FINA. This led FINA to believe the Copacabana waters were not dangerous to swimmers, but continue to call for continuous testing in the coming months.

The test event was won by Great Britain’s Kerri-Anne Payne and Brazil’s Allan do Carmo. The race was not used as an Olympic qualifier, but rather as a way for organizers to test conditions and race technology, and for athletes to test the course before racing for gold next August.

FINA will hold an Olympic qualifying race in Portugal next summer to pick the remaining athletes for the Olympic 10K event.

FINA press release:

Following the Marathon Swimming Olympic Test Event, held in Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro (BRA) on August 22-23, 2015, the FINA Sports Medicine Committee, together with the concerned National Federations, made a follow-up with the 50 swimmers from 12 nations that took part in the competition.

Up to date, 26 days after the conclusion of the event, there is no notice of any subsequent health issue on the athletes that competed in Rio, from the following countries: Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan and Netherlands.

Consequently, the waters of the Copacabana beach were safe during the organisation of the Marathon Swimming test event.

The FINA Sports Medicine Committee, in co-ordination with the IOC, Rio 2016 Organising Committee and INEA (Brazilian State Institute for the Environment), will continue conducting tests and monitoring the quality of the waters in Copacabana beach, in accordance with International Standards.

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