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Paris Olympics swimming test event cancelled over water quality fears

Athletes swim in the Seine river from the Alexander III bridge on the first leg of the women's triathlon test event for the Paris 2024 Olympics Games. Paris, Aug. 17, 2023
Athletes swim in the Seine river from the Alexander III bridge on the first leg of the women's triathlon test event for the Paris 2024 Olympics Games. Paris, Aug. 17, 2023 Copyright Michel Euler/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright Michel Euler/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Euronews with AP
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The cancellations this weekend pose a new challenge to the Paris Olympics organisers and the city’s ambitions to reopen the iconic river to public swimming after the Games.

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Worries about water quality forced the cancellation of another Paris Olympics test event in the Seine River on Sunday, as organisers called off a triathlon mixed relay.

While triathlon swimmers took to the Seine in competition on Thursday and Friday, water quality tests showed higher than authorised levels of bacteria ahead of a paratriathlon test event Saturday, so it was cancelled. Further tests ahead of Sunday's mixed relay remained inconsistent, according to a joint statement from organisers and local officials.

“As a precautionary measure and to protect the health of the athletes, the decision has once again been taken to cancel all the swimming races scheduled for today,” it said. Authorities are investigating the reason for the problematic tests.

Rainfall in recent days may have been a factor. A previous test event had to be cancelled this month because heavy rain caused overflows of untreated waste into the Seine, leaving water quality below safety standards.

The cancellations this weekend pose a new challenge to the Paris Olympics organisers and the city’s ambitions to reopen the iconic river to public swimming after the Games.

Paris is spending massively on water-management projects that officials say will make pollution caused by storms less frequent by the time the Games begin on July 26, 2024. Olympics organisers remain determined to hold open-air swimming events along the picturesque river, viewing this month’s cancellations as a learning experience.

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