GB Canoeing performance director John Anderson has emphasised how strict criteria will be in place to avoid illnesses on the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas ©Getty Images

Strict hygiene measures will be in place for the British canoe sprint team when they compete on the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas during next year's Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio, the team's performance director John Anderson has told insidethegames, although they believe their experience training on Britain's rivers will stand them in good stead.

The canoe sprint squad, who have already qualified eight boats to Rio and hope to secure slots for several more next year, will be based at the city of Belo Horizonte, which is one hour's flight away from the host city, until around two days before action begins, meaning there will be less risk of them contracting illnesses from the much maligned waters on which rowing will also take place during the Games.

This decision however, is not so much due to health risks but due to the team's belief in the superior training possibilities on offer in Belo Horizonte, which will offer far more space than on the congested Lagoa. 

Anderson, who has already paid six visits to Rio since the Brazilian city was awarded the Games over Tokyo, Madrid and Chicago, did provide a reassurance that strict measures will be in place.

This comes after 15 members of the US rowing team were taken ill during last month's test event on the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, amid much criticism of water quality at several of the outdoor venues.

"We are very aware of these problems in Britain," he told insidethegames.

"Some of our crews paddle on industrial rivers, such as on the Trent for Nottingham, and you have to take precautions before going on the water, when on the water and when you come off the water.

"This includes personal hygiene before and after, absolutely no eating or drinking around the water before you've had a shower, and if you've got cuts making sure they are well covered up.

"It's about controlling the things you can control."

Britain's canoe sprint squad will enforce strict hygiene measures to avoid contracting illnesses on the picturesque Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas ©Getty Images
Britain's canoe sprint squad will enforce strict hygiene measures to avoid contracting illnesses on the picturesque Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas ©Getty Images

Britain did not win a medal in an Olympic class at last month's Canoe Sprint World Championships in Milan, something Anderson admits was a "disappointment".

But at the same time, he was pleased with how four Olympic-classed boats reached finals and how eight Olympic-qualification spots have already been secured, an improvement on the seven qualified for London 2012, although Britain competed in 10 events on that occasion due to securing three additional host nation positions.

With the canoe sprint team on down time following the World Championships, Anderson was speaking today ahead of the Canoe Slalom World Championships taking place here from September 16 to 20, a key qualification event for next year's Games.

Britain are hoping of qualifying a boat in all four classes next year, where they will be attempting to emulate the gold and silver medals won in the C2 class at London 2012, where the now retired Tim Baillie and still-competing partner Etienne Stott won gold ahead of David Florence and Richard Hounslow, leading contenders for qualification this time around.

They claim the Lee Valley facility is "the best in the world", with Anderson having been told this by many of the international teams currently honing their preparations there ahead of the World Championships.

Action will take place next year at the Whitewater Stadium course in the Deodoro venue cluster, which is yet to be completed but is reportedly progressing well in the final stages of construction ahead of a proposed test event on November 26 to 29.

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