The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) continues to address concerns and is taking steps to ensure the health and safety of all athletes who will be competing in the upcoming Aquece Rio, Olympic Test Event and the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition.
ISAF continues to work closely with senior staff members at the Rio 2016 Organising Committee for the Olympic Games as well as the International Olympic Committee (IOC), whom ISAF President Carlo Croce and ISAF Chief Executive Officer Peter Sowrey met with in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia at the 128th IOC Session.
ISAF is in continuous discussions with Brazilian authorities in preparation for the Olympic Games, and has been given reassurances on pollution and objects in the water, in and around the race area of Marina da Gloria and Guanabara Bay.
ISAF, Rio 2016, the IOC, the Brazilian Government, Rio State Environment Institute (INEA) and State Environment Agency (SEA) are all working together to prepare for Rio 2016, and Brazilian authorities are working to guidelines and recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure a safe and fair field of play for the athletes.
The health and safety of the competing athletes is paramount and responses have been implemented from concerns raised by both Member National Authorities (MNAs) and sailors from previous events, including the 2014 Aquece Rio, the first of two sailing test events that was held in August 2014.
Sailors were concerned with objects that may interfere with racing during the Olympic Games, and in response the state government launched a tender of up to $11million USD for 17 ecobarriers to be put in place. These ecobarriers will prevent floating garbage from entering Guanabara Bay and the race areas. The new system of ecobarriers will be complemented by ecoboats that will collect garbage that accumulates around the barriers, with a further step of a monitoring system utilising satellite pictures to support the ecoboats.
As part of every Olympic Games, there is a focus on legacy. ISAF hopes that the power of the Olympic Games will provide a great legacy as Rio de Janeiro works to improve the state of the bay generally. The IOC monitors the water twice weekly, which will be increased to every other day during the 2015 Aquece Rio test event.
Other measures taken to increase this legacy will be a new pipeline that will divert sewage from Marina da Gloria, ready by November 2015, well in advance of the Olympic Games, which compliments the other proactive measures around the Guanabara Bay, such as closing landfills, reducing industrial pollution and increasing water treatment works.
Rio will welcome sailors once again from 13-22 August 2015 for the second Test Event, with racing taking place inside and outside of Guanabara Bay. The Test Event will allow ISAF the opportunity evaluate and make key decisions in advance of making the final decisions that will govern the main event.
Millions of visitors flock to Copacabana Beach and Ipanema Beach each year. These beaches and other world famous attractions, such as Sugarloaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer, will ensure these iconic features of the city, and the athleticism and dedication of each Olympic sailor, will be showcased side by side.
In terms of displaying the sport, Rio will certainly provide a perfect platform for the beauty of the sport to be promoted alongside natural and man-made wonders with racing taking place in the shadow of both Sugarloaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer.