Sailors take precautions in fear of Rio water

Fri Aug 14, 2015 1:54pm EDT
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By Andrew Downie

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - International sailors in Brazil for an Olympic test event are taking special supplements and precautionary measures to stop them getting sick during and after the week-long event in Rio de Janeiro's murky waters, team representatives said on Friday.

"We are taking appropriate supplements etcetera to keep immune systems up and I am sure most of the others are doing the same," Peter Conde, high performance director for the Australian team, told Reuters.

"In terms of sanitary practices, we want to keep hands and bodies clean."

Conde said his team were especially vigilant following reports of dangerously high levels of viruses and bacteria in the waters of Guanabara Bay where sailing, open water swimming and triathlon events will be held during next year's Olympic Games.

From Saturday, almost 400 sailors from 55 nations will compete in the 10 Olympic sailing events during a week-long regatta.

Six courses will be used, three inside Guanabara Bay and three outside, the International Sailing Federation said.

British and U.S. athletes have also been taking extra supplements, vitamins and probiotics that help to strengthen the stomach and combat possible infections, officials from both teams said.

"We have health and hygiene procedures in place, we wash kit thoroughly, hand hygiene, we disinfect, make sure we do the basics properly," Lindsey Bell, spokesperson for the British team told Reuters. "You can't afford to be complacent.   Continued...

Rowers practice at Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 30, 2015.  REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes