German medal hope Buhl warns of tricky waters

Thu Jun 16, 2016 2:11pm EDT
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By Karolos Grohmann

EVIAN, France (Reuters) - German sailor Philipp Buhl is chasing an Olympic medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in less than two months to complete his collection but warns the water of Guanabara bay could prove to be a tricky adversary.

The 26-year-old, who won silver at last year's world and European Championships in the laser class, has been working on his first Olympic participation for the best part of five years.

"I lost out on London (2012) qualification and that is when I set my sights on Rio," he told Reuters in a phone interview on Thursday.

"It was clear midway through the 2015 season that I had secured my Rio spot. Since then I have almost only had this one aim -- to win a medal in Rio."

Buhl is no stranger to Guanabara bay, having raced there five times, but Olympic sailors will face bacterial pollution, floating solid objects, strong currents and shifting winds.

Pollution, which has caused some athletes to fall sick including German sailor Erik Heil in 2015, is among the biggest concerns.

"My opinion is that water quality is not good or it is very bad," Buhl said.

"There were illnesses like with Erik Heil and to cut short a sailor's competition at the Olympics is the absolute worst that can happen because of such a long preparation which has essentially marked your entire life.   Continued...