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Tokyo 2020: Sailing benefits from shift

Published on August 17th, 2019

Filthy water plagued the Rio 2016 Olympics when promises by the South American city failed to address their insufficient sanitation system. As a result, Guanabara Bay, the venue for many of the aquatic events, Sailing included, tested high for bacteria and viruses.

While the story for Tokyo 2020 is more about the extreme heat and humidity, water quality is now on the table too as the AP reports high levels of bacteria forced the swimming portion of a triathlon test event for the Tokyo Paralympics to be canceled on August 17.

In a statement, the International Triathlon Union (ITU) said E-coli levels were “more than two times over the ITU limits.” It said the water was at Level 4, the highest risk level. E-coli bacteria, which normally live in the intestines of animals and people, can produce intestinal pain, diarrhea and a fever.

The venue in Tokyo Bay, called Odaiba, has been a concern for organizers, who have experimented with different measures to clean the water in the area, located in an urban part of central Tokyo.

The good news for Sailing is how the venue was moved out of Tokyo Bay in 2015 due to cost and an inability to gain clearance for aerial broadcast coverage from Tokyo’s nearby Haneda Airport.

The shift for sailing to Sagami Bay in Enoshima, a coastal city to the southwest, is open to the Pacific Ocean where the water should be less impacted by the Tokyo population. The city also hosted the sailing events at the 1964 Olympic Games.

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