April 23 - Holding a Rio 2016 test event on the polluted waters of Guanabara Bay in barely three months' time will be "difficult", a senior official from the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) has admitted.
He conceded, however, they will not be in place by August 2 when the week-long test event, the first for any sport, will begin, with around 400 sailors from the 10 Olympic classes due to compete.
"The test event is a great opportunity for us see the venue in action," he told insidethegames.
"So the test event will be difficult.
"There is a robust plan in place to remove sewage, and this will be in place by Rio 2016 but not by the test event."
But Fox, who served in the same role ahead of London 2012, claimed the ISAF's concerns are being taken "a lot more seriously by the organisers and they do now seem to understand the gravity of the situation".
He described there have been many meetings between Rio 2016 and the State authorities responsible for reducing pollution levels, and the ISAF have been handed a lot of data and consequently have a better understanding of the realities of the situation in the Bay.
This response comes after a fresh wave of criticism of pollution levels, among other concerns, this month, with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) introducing measures including task forces, a project manager, and more regular visits by IOC Executive Director Gilbert Felli to address the growing fears surrounding the Games.
Last November, it was revealed Guanabara Bay has 78-times Brazil's legally allowed limit of fecal pollution, and 195-times the US limit, and this has led to numerous figures from the sailing world claiming the venue is simply unfit for top-level competition.
Fox added: "It is more feasible it could be moved to cleaner local waters, but this is not something that has been seriously considered, and we are still hoping the problem will be reduced."
"But for sure, we still need to see improvements in water quality."
Although these concerns have slightly faded into the background in recent weeks in comparison with criticism of construction delays for numerous land-based sports, the fears are shared by some of the other sports which require waters around Rio.
"We're working closely with the IOC and the [Rio 2016] Organising Committee and to our knowledge the situation has improved but anyhow we will apply our rules related to water safety," Marculescu said.
"We cannot say at this stage that there are any health risks but in the event that there are, the marathon swimming event cannot be held in this venue.
"Of course we will follow this situation very closely and, if necessary, we will check for an alternative venue.
"I think that Brazilian authorities and the Organising Committee are taking all the necessary steps seriously to ensure that the best venue is available for the events [that are] part of the Olympic programme."
He claimed he preferred to view the Olympics optimistically and remains confident the necessary improvements will be made, and that the rowing competition will be successful.
Last month, Rio 2016 communications director Mario Andrada insisted to insidethegames reducing pollution levels is a "major concern" for the responsible Government authorities, but insisted environmental change could still be a major legacy of the Games.
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