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IOC says 'confident' Rio safe for athletes despite pollution concerns

AP Pollution Probe Has Olympic Athletes Worried

ANCIENT OLYMPIA, Greece, April 20 (Reuters) - The Rio Games will be safe for athletes despite concerns over polluted water, the head of the International Olympic Committee said on Wednesday.

Biologists said in 2014 that rivers leading into Rio's Guanabara bay contained superbacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and can cause urinary, gastrointestinal and pulmonary infections.

The cleaning of its polluted waters was a key part of Rio's bid pledge to host the Summer Games and has long been a goal of successive local governments.

See how one sailor is preparing for the Games despite the polluted water:

17 PHOTOS
NTP: Australian sailor Tom Burton preparing for Rio
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IOC says 'confident' Rio safe for athletes despite pollution concerns
Australian Olympic team sailor Tom Burton (R) sails his laser yacht during a training session next to Finn Alexander (L) and Stuart Plenderleith, both contenders to represent Australia at the World Youth Championships, in front of the Sydney Opera House in Sydney Harbour, Australia April 13, 2016. Having steered his laser through sofas, big tree branches and other floating debris in Guanabara Bay, Australian sailor and medal hopeful Tom Burton is ready to expect the unexpected when he competes at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The quality of Rio's water-ways has long been a worry for competitors and organisers alike, and some athletes have complained of stomach ailments after training at their aquatic venues. REUTERS/David Gray SEARCH "BURTON SAILING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Australian Olympic team sailor Tom Burton sails his laser yacht as his coach Michael Blackburn watches during a training session in Sydney Harbour, Australia April 13, 2016. Having steered his laser through sofas, big tree branches and other floating debris in Guanabara Bay, Australian sailor and medal hopeful Tom Burton is ready to expect the unexpected when he competes at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The quality of Rio's water-ways has long been a worry for competitors and organisers alike, and some athletes have complained of stomach ailments after training at their aquatic venues. REUTERS/David Gray SEARCH "BURTON SAILING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Australian Olympic team sailor Tom Burton leans over the side of his laser yacht as he sails during a training session in Sydney Harbour, Australia April 13, 2016. Having steered his laser through sofas, big tree branches and other floating debris in Guanabara Bay, Australian sailor and medal hopeful Tom Burton is ready to expect the unexpected when he competes at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The quality of Rio's water-ways has long been a worry for competitors and organisers alike, and some athletes have complained of stomach ailments after training at their aquatic venues. REUTERS/David Gray SEARCH "BURTON SAILING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Australian Olympic team sailor Tom Burton sails his laser yacht during a training session in front of the Sydney Opera House in Sydney Harbour, Australia April 13, 2016. Having steered his laser through sofas, big tree branches and other floating debris in Guanabara Bay, Australian sailor and medal hopeful Tom Burton is ready to expect the unexpected when he competes at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The quality of Rio's water-ways has long been a worry for competitors and organisers alike, and some athletes have complained of stomach ailments after training at their aquatic venues. REUTERS/David Gray SEARCH "BURTON SAILING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Australian Olympic team sailor Tom Burton sits in his apartment before a training session in the Sydney suburb of Manly, Australia April 13, 2016. Having steered his laser through sofas, big tree branches and other floating debris in Guanabara Bay, Australian sailor and medal hopeful Tom Burton is ready to expect the unexpected when he competes at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The quality of Rio's water-ways has long been a worry for competitors and organisers alike, and some athletes have complained of stomach ailments after training at their aquatic venues. REUTERS/David Gray SEARCH "BURTON SAILING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A hat bearing the 2016 Rio Olympic Australian team name sits atop a table in Australian Olympic team sailor Tom Burton's apartment before a training session in the Sydney suburb of Manly, Australia April 13, 2016. Having steered his laser through sofas, big tree branches and other floating debris in Guanabara Bay, Australian sailor and medal hopeful Tom Burton is ready to expect the unexpected when he competes at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The quality of Rio's water-ways has long been a worry for competitors and organisers alike, and some athletes have complained of stomach ailments after training at their aquatic venues. REUTERS/David Gray SEARCH "BURTON SAILING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Australian Olympic team sailor Tom Burton (R) sails his laser yacht during a training session next to Finn Alexander (L) and Stuart Plenderleith, both contenders to represent Australia at the World Youth Championships, in front of the Sydney Opera House in Sydney Harbour, Australia April 13, 2016. Having steered his laser through sofas, big tree branches and other floating debris in Guanabara Bay, Australian sailor and medal hopeful Tom Burton is ready to expect the unexpected when he competes at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The quality of Rio's water-ways has long been a worry for competitors and organisers alike, and some athletes have complained of stomach ailments after training at their aquatic venues. REUTERS/David Gray SEARCH "BURTON SAILING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Australian Olympic team sailor Tom Burton stretches during a training session at a gym located near the Australian Sailing Team's national training centre in the Sydney suburb of Mosman, Australia April 13, 2016. Having steered his laser through sofas, big tree branches and other floating debris in Guanabara Bay, Australian sailor and medal hopeful Tom Burton is ready to expect the unexpected when he competes at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The quality of Rio's water-ways has long been a worry for competitors and organisers alike, and some athletes have complained of stomach ailments after training at their aquatic venues. REUTERS/David Gray SEARCH "BURTON SAILING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Dirty clothes cover a bicycle resting behind the luggage of Australian Olympic team sailor Tom Burton in the bedroom of his apartment before a training session in the Sydney suburb of Manly, Australia April 13, 2016. Having steered his laser through sofas, big tree branches and other floating debris in Guanabara Bay, Australian sailor and medal hopeful Tom Burton is ready to expect the unexpected when he competes at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The quality of Rio's water-ways has long been a worry for competitors and organisers alike, and some athletes have complained of stomach ailments after training at their aquatic venues. REUTERS/David Gray SEARCH "BURTON SAILING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Australian Olympic team sailor Tom Burton launches his laser yacht at the Australian Sailing Team's national training centre at Middle Harbour in the Sydney suburb of Mosman, Australia April 13, 2016. Having steered his laser through sofas, big tree branches and other floating debris in Guanabara Bay, Australian sailor and medal hopeful Tom Burton is ready to expect the unexpected when he competes at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The quality of Rio's water-ways has long been a worry for competitors and organisers alike, and some athletes have complained of stomach ailments after training at their aquatic venues. REUTERS/David Gray SEARCH "BURTON SAILING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Australian Olympic team sailor Tom Burton squats as he stretches during a training session at a gym near the Australian Sailing Team's national training centre in the Sydney suburb of Mosman, Australia April 13, 2016. Having steered his laser through sofas, big tree branches and other floating debris in Guanabara Bay, Australian sailor and medal hopeful Tom Burton is ready to expect the unexpected when he competes at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The quality of Rio's water-ways has long been a worry for competitors and organisers alike, and some athletes have complained of stomach ailments after training at their aquatic venues. REUTERS/David Gray SEARCH "BURTON SAILING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Australian Olympic team sailor Tom Burton uses weights during a training session at a gym near the Australian Sailing Team's national training centre in the Sydney suburb of Mosman, Australia April 13, 2016. Having steered his laser through sofas, big tree branches and other floating debris in Guanabara Bay, Australian sailor and medal hopeful Tom Burton is ready to expect the unexpected when he competes at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The quality of Rio's water-ways has long been a worry for competitors and organisers alike, and some athletes have complained of stomach ailments after training at their aquatic venues. REUTERS/David Gray SEARCH "BURTON SAILING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Australian Olympic team sailor Tom Burton (C) sails his laser yacht during a training session next to Finn Alexander (L) and Stuart Plenderleith, both contenders to represent Australia at the World Youth Championships, in Sydney Harbour, Australia April 13, 2016. Having steered his laser through sofas, big tree branches and other floating debris in Guanabara Bay, Australian sailor and medal hopeful Tom Burton is ready to expect the unexpected when he competes at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The quality of Rio's water-ways has long been a worry for competitors and organisers alike, and some athletes have complained of stomach ailments after training at their aquatic venues. REUTERS/David Gray SEARCH "BURTON SAILING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Australian Olympic team sailor Tom Burton sails his laser yacht in front of a jet boat during a training session in Sydney Harbour, Australia April 13, 2016. Having steered his laser through sofas, big tree branches and other floating debris in Guanabara Bay, Australian sailor and medal hopeful Tom Burton is ready to expect the unexpected when he competes at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The quality of Rio's water-ways has long been a worry for competitors and organisers alike, and some athletes have complained of stomach ailments after training at their aquatic venues. REUTERS/David Gray SEARCH "BURTON SAILING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Australian Olympic team sailor Tom Burton (L) is congratulated by a friend as he sails his laser yacht during a training session in Sydney Harbour, Australia April 13, 2016. Having steered his laser through sofas, big tree branches and other floating debris in Guanabara Bay, Australian sailor and medal hopeful Tom Burton is ready to expect the unexpected when he competes at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The quality of Rio's water-ways has long been a worry for competitors and organisers alike, and some athletes have complained of stomach ailments after training at their aquatic venues. REUTERS/David Gray SEARCH "BURTON SAILING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Australian Olympic team sailor Tom Burton sails his laser yacht in front of the city and ferry boats during a training session in Sydney Harbour, Australia April 13, 2016. Having steered his laser through sofas, big tree branches and other floating debris in Guanabara Bay, Australian sailor and medal hopeful Tom Burton is ready to expect the unexpected when he competes at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The quality of Rio's water-ways has long been a worry for competitors and organisers alike, and some athletes have complained of stomach ailments after training at their aquatic venues. REUTERS/David Gray SEARCH "BURTON SAILING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
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"We are very confident that the competition area for the athletes will offer safe and fair conditions," IOC president Thomas Bach told reporters.

"The city, the state and the organizing committee are undertaking many efforts and what we see now is that 60 percent of the surface is clean. Without the Games it would be zero."

When Rio bid to host the 2016 Olympics, the city said it would cut the amount of raw sewage flowing into the bay by 80 percent but has since confirmed it will not meet that target.

"The last stretch is always the most difficult one and also there are challenges, but ... we're very confident (they) will be excellent Games," Bach said.


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