The opening day of rowing at the Rio 2016 Olympics saw strong winds cause tricky conditions on the Lagoa Stadium water, leading to one boat capsizing and leaving its athletes floating in the water.
The men’s heavyweight pairs saw the defending Olympic champions of Eric Murray and Hamish Bond power to victory in the third and final heat, but the Serbian boat of Milos Vasic and Nenad Bedik saw a quarter-final qualifying position snatched away from their grasp after their boat flipped over.
The pair were running in third behind the New Zealand boat and the Italian pair of Giovanni Abagnale and Marco Di Costanzo when they capsized, allowing the Hungarian duo of Adrian Juhasz and Bela Simon to benefit despite being certain of making a swift exit from the competition.
The race continued as safety crews rushed out to aid the stranded Serbian pair, although for some reason they remained in the water almost five minutes after the capsized.
Fourth place does allow the crew to go through to the repechage, although rules state that the team must finish the race in order to do so.
The sight of Vasic and Bedik would normally be nothing more than comical, but given the alarming reports that emerged in the build-up to the Olympic Games in Rio about the levels of contamination in the water where the rowing and sailing takes place, the pair could be in a spot of bother.
It was claimed in a report commissioned by The Associated Press that the water in the Olympic and Paralympic venues contained 1.7m times the level of viruses that would normally be considered a concern in Europe and the United States due to raw sewage being pumped into a nearby canal.
It was claimed in the report that just three teaspoons of open water would mean a person would be “almost certain” of contracting a virus.
Measures were taken by Team GB to minimise the risk of catching any viruses by immediately showering after training, keeping water bottles in protective containers and brushing teeth with bottled water only.
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