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Games swimmers hit by outbreak of stomach bug

The Commonwealth Games hit another snag: a fifth of English swimmers have an upset stomach and blame the pool.

England's Kate Haywood competes in the Women's 50m Breaststroke final. 20% of her teammates have been affected by stomach bugs blamed on the quality of water in the S.P. Mukherjee Aquatics Centre.
England's Kate Haywood competes in the Women's 50m Breaststroke final. 20% of her teammates have been affected by stomach bugs blamed on the quality of water in the S.P. Mukherjee Aquatics Centre.
Image: Victor R. Caivano/AP

THE ALREADY ILL-FATED Commonwealth Games have seen yet another scandal hit, as up to a dozen English swimmers claim to have developed a stomach bug – potentially picked up from the water in the games swimming pools.

Doctors for the English team say that one in five of their swimmers – a team of about 45 people entirely – have developed ‘Delhi belly’, while a further half-dozen Australian competitors have developed similar conditions.

In some cases, athletes have had to withdraw from the games entirely – some of whom were strong contenders for medals. Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington, who won gold in the 800m freestyle this morning, somehow managed to overcome the condition.

Australian Hayden Stoeckel, who won a silver medal earlier this week in the men’s 50m butterfly, has had to withdraw from his intensive training schedule for further events, though English doctors say none of their preparations have been badly affected.

The Commonwealth Games Federation president Mike Fennell has said his team will investigate the claims and conduct tests on the two pools at the Dr SP Makherjee Aquatic Complex where the aquatic events are taking place.

“We have ensured the water quality is tested and fit for athletes. We don’t have specific reports about the illness and the reasons,” Fennell said. “We are concerned if athletes are not well and cannot perform at their best.”

Underwater footage of synchronised swimming competitions taking place at the complex has shown the pool to be somewhat cloudy.

The concerns over the pool follow complaints by the track and field athletes that the running track had been damaged during the opening ceremony, which forced authorities to relay small parts of the track – which was reported to be uneven in some sports.

The games were also hit by complaints over the shoddy state of the athlete’s village, and by collapses in a footbridge and the ceiling of a weightlifting venue.

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