the Seine “below health standards”, a test postponed

This Saturday, August 5, swimmers should have set off into the Seine for an open water swimming World Cup event, qualifying for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Due to excessive pollution of the Seine, the The race has been postponed to Sunday. Competitors will not know until Sunday at 5:00 a.m. whether or not they can swim this weekend.

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Will swim, won’t swim? It is at dawn on Sunday that the participants in the pre-Olympic swimming test competition in the Seine will know if the river is clean enough to dive into it. This open water swimming World Cup event was originally scheduled over two days. But Saturday’s event for women was postponed to Sunday due to pollution of the Seine, a consequence of heavy rains in the French capital.

The French Swimming Federation (FFN), in collaboration with ” the organization’s partners » in particular the International Federation World Aquatics, decided to bet everything on Sunday, initially, the day of the competition for the men. Hoping the water quality improves…” Water quality continues to be closely monitored. A new media update is expected around 05:00 on August 6 “Said the FFN.

The water quality of the Seine remains (…) below acceptable standards for safeguarding the health of swimmers “Wrote the FFN on Friday. These competitions in the Seine are also preludes to future swimming promised for 2025 by the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo (PS), on three sites, while swimming has been prohibited there since 1923.

A test for the Olympics

This scenario of persistent rain for several days, with stormy accents, was feared by the organizers. Indeed, these heavy rains cause the sewers to overflow and pollute the Seine. This open water swimming World Cup event, between the Alexandre III bridge and the Alma bridge – 10 km swum in a loop – is above all a test event for the Paris Olympics in a year.

The organizing committee of the Olympic Games, the town hall of Paris, the prefecture of the Île-de-France region, sports federations, among others, have been looking into water analyzes and weather forecasts for days. Thursday evening, the organizing committee of the Olympic Games, which must use this competition to run in the course and equipment (pontoons, buoys, etc.), the town hall of Paris and the prefecture of the Île-de-France region, met wanted reassuring.

Recurring controversies

According to them, at one year from the Games, the sanitation dynamic continues with the completion of the most significant work to improve water quality in the coming months, in particular to deal with these exceptional weather events “.

This is why among the State and community sites for these bathing activities are notably works such as the Austerlitz basin, still under construction, which will make it possible to store rainwater (50,000 m³), ​​and operate in 2024. For the Olympic event, the organizers have long planned to be able to postpone the events by two or three days, in the event of storms and heavy rain.

An Olympic discipline since 2008, open water swimming is regularly talked about. In Tokyo, at the end of the test event in 2019, swimmers protested against the quality of the water in Tokyo Bay, which was also overheated. At the Rio Olympics in 2016, the prospect of swimming in Guanabara Bay, also very polluted, also hit the headlines.

(With AFP)

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