Glasgow 2014 may move triathlon venue over pollution fears
Monday, 06 August 2012
August 6 - Glasgow 2014 officials may move the triathlon venue for the Commonwealth Games due to concerns over high levels of pollution in Strathclyde Loch, which is scheduled to host the 1500 metres open-air swim that begins the competition.
The picturesque Strathclyde Country Park, where the Loch (pictured top) is located, could provide one of the most stunning backdrops for the Games with the swim to be followed by a 40 kilometres cycle ride and a 10km run on the surrounding roads and paths.
But worries about the quality of the water in the loch are now forcing Glasgow 2014 to consider alternative locations to prevent the triathletes potentially being poisoned or infected during the swim.
Despite the problems, Glasgow 2014 remains hopeful of using the venue with a £150,000 ($234,000/€189,000) project currently underway to improve the quality of the loch's water before the start of the Games.
There are also plans for the course to become a legacy for future events following upgrades to it.
Sebastian Coe, the chairman of London 2012, visited the venue last year and lavished praise on it.
But, earlier this year, 80 per cent of the people who took part in an open-air swim in the loch fell ill with sickness, stomach cramps and diarrhoea, with some testing positive for a vomiting bug known as norovirus.
The artificial loch was temporarily closed to all water sports and boating after the outbreak, which was blamed on heavy rains contaminating the water.
That incident followed after a major open-air swim in 2010, for 2,000 entrants, which was cancelled after amounts of blue-green algae were found to be twice the recommended safety level.
The recurring water problems have been discussed Glasgow 2014 which says it is closely investigating the matter but will make no final decision until next year.
"Glasgow 2014 is committed to delivering a high-quality triathlon venue to stage this exciting sport as part of the Commonwealth Games programme," a Glasgow 2014 spokesperson told insidethegames.
"We are working in partnership with a number of organisations... tasked with ensuring the loch in Strathclyde Country Park continues to be used for sporting and recreational purposes and as the triathlon venue for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
"The first of ongoing official reports from the group is not due until early to mid-2013 and no decisions will be made until after then.
"We also continue to have dialogue with sports technical officials and regulatory bodies.
"As is regular practice at this stage in the delivery of a multi-sports, multi-venue Games, the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee continues to develop the detail of operational venue plans through experts in a range of disciplines, including sport, risk management, overlay, environment and sustainability and venue operations.
"As part of this process we are developing contingency plans to mitigate against risks and issues."
August 2011: Coe impressed by progress for triathlon at Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games