Loch likely to pass tests for better water quality

By David Leggat

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

A test event at Strathclyde Loch this weekend is expected to give a green light to improved water quality ahead of the Commonwealth Games triathlon in July.

The loch, in Strathclyde Country Park, had elevated levels of blue-green algae in a similar scenario to that which troubled the leadup to the Olympic Games open water swim and triathlon at the Serpentine in London's Hyde Park two years ago.

To combat the problem, Games organisers have created a designated swimming area, which has been separated from the main loch with a series of physical obstacles.

The water was treated with a non-toxic phosphorous-reducing chemical, again in line with moves used to fix the Serpentine.

New Zealand have a team of five going to Glasgow - which might be increased to six if Nicky Samuels' appeal against her inclusion only as a reserve is successful.

They have solid medal chances, particularly in the mixed teams relay, where they won the world championship gold medal a year ago.

High performance manager Graeme Maw is confident all will be well come event time on July 24 and 26.

"There are no concerns whatsoever," Maw said of the loch.

"We went over a year ago and got really clear reassurances that this was the plan. It's pretty expensive and a pretty substantial commitment on the organisers' part."

The venue on the outskirts of Glasgow, is about 20 minutes from the Commonwealth Games village and Maw rates it highly.

"It's fantastic, an enclosed venue in a park and we're really looking forward to it because it's a good venue for us."

Strathclyde Loch had been a fixture on British triathlon's calender until the algae bloom issue surfaced several years ago.

A triathlon was postponed in 2008 after algae bloom was found and warnings to stay out of the water have been issued in recent summers.

The blooms are caused by prolonged hot weather, with symptoms of exposure including abdominal pains, vomiting and diarrhoea.

"We want to deliver a first-class facility, and our work to upgrade the roads and paths and achieve the required water quality standards has done just that," Paul Jukes, executive director of regeneration and environmental services for North Lanarkshire said.

Triathlon has proved one of the most popular events on the Games programme. It is one of five sports which have sold out. The others are swimming, diving, cycling and gymnastics.

Ticket sales are back on in Britain, after the system collapsed last week. The problem didn't affect New Zealanders planning on going to the Games. New Zealand residents bought 8000 tickets through the New Zealand Olympic Committee.

Problems emerged almost immediately after the final tickets went on sale last week but sales were suspended a day later while Ticketmaster worked through the issue, which cost some fans 100 phone bills while listening to the engaged tone. About 2.3 million applications were made for the initial one million tickets released last year.

- NZ Herald

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