'Disgusted' Sydney medallist calls for Rio boycott

Olympics (File)
Olympics (File)

Berlin - Germany's sailor of the year Heiko Kroeger is horrified by the 'disgusting' water quality he experienced in Rio de Janeiro and says his countrymen should boycott the Olympic and Paralympic sailing events.

Kroeger, who only has one arm, won Paralympic gold at Sydney in 2000 in the 2.4m one-person keelboat class and is a medal hopeful in Rio.

The German, who was voted his country's top sailer in 2015, is appalled by the water quality after competing in a test event in Rio's Guanabara Bay, where he says rubbish and waste poses a threat to both human health and could damage the boats.

"Domestic waste, sewage, dead rats and fish, used condoms - it's really disgusting," he told broadcaster NDR after listing what he saw in the water.

The Paralympics will be held in Rio from September 7-18 after the Olympics take place from August 5-21.

The 49-year-old says the chairs, large boxes, branches and tree trunks he saw floating in the water makes it really dangerous for Olympics and Paralympic sailors alike.

"There are many good reasons for a boycott, but the DSOB (the German Olympic Committee) would have to decide," he said.

Kroeger says he is disappointed both World Sailing, the sport's govening body, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has not moved the venue, but the German says there is no way the Olympics or Paralympics will be cancelled.

He says he has "been vaccinated for everything possible", and did everything he could to avoid getting water in his mouth during training.

After each training session in Rio, he disinfected all his equipment.

"I think the risk of developing something (a disease) is relatively high, but I assume the desire for the competition to take place is higher," he added.

Kroeger's comments come after Germany's Erik Heil needed hospital treatment last August for a serious skin infection after competing in a test regatta for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The 26-year-old had an operation on the largest of the five sites infected on his legs and hips and was treated with strong antibiotics after contracting a highly-resistant germ after competing in Guanabara Bay.

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