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Some US rowers fall ill at Olympics test event

Published:Wednesday | August 12, 2015 | 8:00 AM

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP):

Thirteen rowers on the 40-member United States (US) team came down with a stomach illness at the World Junior Rowing Championships - a trial run for next summer's Olympics - and the team doctor said she suspected that it was due to pollution in the lake where the competition took place.

The event took place amid rising concerns about the water quality at venues for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, now less than a year away.

The Americans were by far the hardest hit at the regatta that concluded over the weekend, with reports of vomiting and diarrhoea. Other teams in the competition reported some illnesses, according to World Rowing, the sport's governing body, but those were about as expected at an event that featured more than 500 young rowers.

 

poor water quality

 

On July 30, the Associated Press (AP)published an indepen-dent analysis of water quality that showed high levels of viruses, and in some cases, bacteria from human sewage in all of Rio's Olympic and Paralympic water venues, including the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, where the rowing competition took place.

US coach Susan Francia, a two-time Olympic gold-medal rower, said in an interview with the AP that 13 athletes and four staff members - including herself - suffered various gastrointestinal symptoms during the team's two weeks of training in Rio.

Dr Kathryn Ackerman, the US team physician, said athletes from several other countries stayed in the same hotel as the Americans, but did not seem to get as sick as her rowers.

"I don't know if it was the water bottles in the boats, or hygiene precautions that some athletes are really good about and others weren't," she said.

Officials did not rule out that the Americans could have gotten ill from food or drinking water.

"We're not really sure. My personal feeling is, I think it's from the lake," Ackerman said.