Penny Briscoe (right), Paralympics GB's Chef de Mission for Rio 2016, with sailor Helena Lucas (left), who was named as Great Britain's first athlete to be selected to compete at Rio 2016 yesterday ©ParalympicsGB

ParalympicsGB Chef de Mission Penny Briscoe insists the British Sailing team will continue to exert pressure on Rio 2016 organisers to improve the conditions of the water at the sailing venue for next year's Olympic and Paralympic Games.

High levels of water pollution and physical debris across Guanabara Bay have been a particular challenge over recent years, with concerns heightening once again after it emerged last month Government forces responsible for reducing levels had not signed a contract to buy more boats from where rubbish can be collected.

Although organisers remain confident a second sailing test event this August can still be a success, Briscoe said the British Sailing team will be working with the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) to exert pressure where possible and work on behalf of all the athletes.

"I think the challenges around the sailing venue on Guanabara Bay are well documented and clearly there are some concerns but that’s the current position and what we can only strive for is to continue to put pressure to improve the conditions of the water," Briscoe told insidethegames.

"Ultimately what we all hope is that the conditions on the field of play are world class and I think the British Sailing team are one of the best teams in the world.

"What we want is a fair and consistent competition and what we don’t want is debris in the water affecting outcomes of races.

"And what we want is a well presented, exciting competition for both Paralympic and Olympic sailors."

Dead fish float on the edge of Guanabara Bay, part of which is the Rio 2016 sailing venue
Dead fish float on the edge of Guanabara Bay, part of which is the Rio 2016 sailing venue ©Getty Images

Female sailing star Helena Lucas, who won gold in the 2.4mR class at London 2012, was yesterday named as the first athlete selected to represent ParalympicsGB at Rio 2016.

The 40-year-old witnessed the conditions first hand during a training session in November and believes the biggest problem is the rubbish in the water. 

"If you get a carrier bag or something caught round your keel, it’s not like you can just pull the centreboard or daggerboard up to clear it," Lucas told insidethegames.

"You have two options - you either carry on racing with it caught round your keel and probably catch a few more bits of rubbish in the meantime, or you can stop and try and reverse to get rid of it.

"Obviously, neither is ideal in a racing scenario but I guess at the end of the day everybody’s in the same situation.

"I think with all the media hype around it, hopefully that really is pushing the organisers into trying to clean it up.

"At the end of the day, once the Olympics and Paralympics is gone, it will massively benefit the locals because just talking to them there, they’re not happy about it at all."

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March 2015: Exclusive: Rubbish collection boats at Rio 2016 sailing venue remain suspended over cost fears
March 2015: Exclusive: Rio 2016 clean-up operation at Guanabara Bay hampered by lack of boats
March 2015: International Sailing Federation and IOC hold talks over Rio 2016 pollution fears