Swimming test event for Paris Olympics scrapped due to water quality
Swimming test event for Paris 2024 Olympics is scrapped after water quality in the Seine was found to be ‘below acceptable standards’ – despite France’s £1.2bn effort to end pollution in the river
- The Seine is scheduled to be hosting swimming events for the 2024 Olympics
A swimming test event for the Paris 2024 Olympics has been scrapped after the water quality in the River Seine was found to be ‘below acceptable standards’.
It comes despite a £1.2billion regeneration project in Paris aimed at ending pollution in the river.
The Seine is supposed to be hosting marathon swimming, triathlon and Para-triathlon events at the Olympics and Paralympics.
Organisers of the Open Water Swimming World Cup had hoped to prove the stretch of water was now ready for elite athletes.
But a statement by the organisers World Aquatics read: ‘Following recent above-average rainfall in Paris, the water quality in the Seine has remained below acceptable standards for safeguarding swimmers’ health.’
A swimming test event for the Paris 2024 Olympics has been scrapped after the water quality in the River Seine (pictured) was found to be ‘below acceptable standards’
It comes despite a £1.2billion regeneration project in Paris created to end pollution in the river. Pictured: A Fluidion employee collects a sample of water from the Seine to analyse its composition ahead of the Olympics
Representatives of World Aquatics, the international swimming federation, joined officials from the Ville de Paris to study test results at 4am on Sunday.
They concluded that the competition, which was due to start at the historic Alexandre III bridge in sight of the Eiffel Tower, could not go ahead.
The French Swimming Federation (FFN) joined World Aquatics in pointing to a water quality that was ‘below acceptable standards’.
Husain Al-Musallam, the president of World Aquatics, said he was ‘disappointed that the quality of the water is leading to the cancellation of this World Cup but the health of the athletes must always be our first priority’.
Mr Al-Musallem added: ‘Based on this weekend, it is clear that further work is needed with Paris 2024 and local authorities to ensure robust contingency plans are in place for next year.’
Heavy rain over the past week in Paris has caused sewers to overflow, polluting the River Seine, said the federation.
The Seine is supposed to be hosting marathon swimming, triathlon and Para-triathlon events at the Olympics and Paralympics
Samples of water of the river Seine are taken before a quality test on August 4
Despite the setback, World Aquatics said it ‘understands that further infrastructure projects will be completed to significantly improve water quality in the Seine in the lead-up to next year’s Olympic Games’.
‘World Aquatics remains excited at the prospect of city-centre Olympic racing for the world’s best open water swimmers next summer.’
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Levels of the bacterium Escherichia Coli exceeded acceptable limits, a spokesman for the organiser of the Paris Olympics committee said.
‘Despite the improvements observed over the past three days, this quality remained slightly below the levels established by public health authorities and World Aquatics to protect the health of swimmers’, the organisers said in a statement.
Olympic open water swimming has often been disrupted by pollution concerns, but Paris had pledged to solve the problem.
Swimming has been officially banned in the Seine since 1923, but the building of a 46,000 cubic metre water tank underneath a park in central Paris was meant to be a partial solution.
It is designed to store excess rainfall and drastically reduce the amount of sewage overflowing into the river.
Other river regeneration projects adding to a bill equivalent to £1.2billion included water treatment plants on the outskirts of the city.
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