The sailing events at the Rio Olympics could be shifted due to the state of Guanabara Bay.
The world governing body of sailing has threatened to move all of its events for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics out of the city’s Guanabara Bay if action isn’t taken quickly to clean the heavily polluted body of water that many sailors described as an “open sewer.”
Alastair Fox, the head of competitions for the governing body ISAF, said sailing officials had become frustrated after seeing little done to clean the bay of raw sewage and floating debris.
“If we have to race all the races outside the bay, if that’s what it comes to, to ensure a fair regatta, then that’s something we’re going to explore and could do,” Fox said.
Two sailing courses located just outside the bay in the open Atlantic – and a third being planned there – could be used for all races, Fox added.
Three other courses have been planned inside the bay, but may not be used.
Fox said the ISAF had asked the Switzerland-based International Olympic Committee to pressure Brazilian politicians.
He said the local organising committee was not at fault, putting the blame on the government.
“We are going to review the situation and make some more recommendations – demands is probably the right word – to make sure things are done,” Fox said.
Rio officials promised to clean the bay as part of their campaign in winning the bid in 2009.