Grael: Golden chance missed to clean Rio bay’s water

7 Days in Dubai - - SPORT -

Rio de Janeiro has missed a once-ina-life­time chance to clean pol­luted Gua­n­abara Bay, the venue for Olympic sail­ing, Brazil’s most dec­o­rated Olympic ath­lete said in a re­cent in­ter­view.

“We al­ways hoped that hav­ing a big event like the games would help,” said Tor­ben Grael.

“We our­selves put a lot of pres­sure to make it hap­pen, but un­for­tu­nately it didn’t hap­pen when they had money. And now they don’t have money, and so it’s even worse.” Grael has won five Olympic medals in sail­ing: two gold, a sil­ver and two bronze. He has sailed for years in Gua­n­abara Bay and hoped the games would prompt a whole­sale clean up. “I don’t think we’re go­ing to see that change now,” he added. “It’s part of the way pol­i­tics ad­min­is­tra­tion goes here. Ev­ery­thing grows very quick and very dis­or­gan­ised.”

Brazil is in the mid­dle of its worst re­ces­sion in decades, and the state of Rio de Janeiro has been de­scribed as “broke”. The state is re­spon­si­ble for main­tain­ing the bay, which has been de­scribed as an open sewer by many lo­cal and foreign sailors.

Rio treats only about half of its sewage, dump­ing the rest un­treated into the water around the city.

A year-long anal­y­sis of water qual­ity found dan­ger­ously high lev­els of viruses and bac­te­ria in Olympic and Par­a­lympic venues for sail­ing, row­ing, ca­noe­ing, triathlon and swim­ming.

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