Over the years, Ahmedabad’s Sabarmati River has hosted events like air shows, Chinese Premier Xi Jinping and the international kite festival. Recently, reports surfaced of industrial effluents and sewage discharged into the river. Activists have complained of the river’s stagnant and polluted water, which is not healthy for the 5000-odd families that live around it.
Now, the river is deemed unfit to host a sporting event.
Triathletes at the 36th National Games were to swim in the river to compete for over 750 metres in open waters, other than biking 20 kilometres and running five kilometres. However, the event has been moved to Gandhinagar’s Indian Institute of Technology since organisers believe Sabarmati’s green water could infect swimmers.
According to a report, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation officials had conducted several quality checks of the river when the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) announced Gujarat as the host of the National Games.
Triathlon competition manager Harish Prasad was quoted as saying that water tests are conducted frequently, including one test two weeks before any sporting event. He added that while the water used for events needn’t be drinkable, it shouldn’t infect athletes.
Virendra Nanavati, the vice-president of the Gujarat State Olympic Association, confirmed to the daily that the venue was unsuitable to host the event since drainage water was released into the river.
The Sabarmati riverfront is apt for events like triathlon owing to the two-level promenade along its banks.
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