Paris2024 holds Triathlon Test Event in Seine River

Major boost for Paris Olympic Games Organising Committee
/ New Delhi
/ Events
Paris2024 holds Triathlon Test Event in Seine River

The organising committee of Paris 2024 says that it worked with the World Triathlon and all the public authorities involved in the project to improve the water quality in the rive

Just days after World Aquatics cancelled the Open Water Swimming World Cup citing poor water quality in Seine River, the organising committee of Paris 2024 Olympic Games get a major boost as it successfully holds women’s individual event during Triathlon Test Event.
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The unprecedented drive to improve water quality in the Seine bore its fruit on Thursday, with the women’s individual event during the Triathlon Test Event being held, featuring the 65 best female triathletes in the world, in a race in the heart of Paris.

In a press statement, the organising committee of Paris 2024 says that it worked with the World Triathlon and all the public authorities involved in the project to improve the water quality in the river, alongside the Prefect of the Île-de-France region, the Prefect of Paris and the City of Paris, to be able to organise the first event held in the Seine and its success among the public, with many spectators present along the route to cheer on the world’s best triathletes.

The statement adds that holding this race was a first step towards the organisation of the triathlon, Para triathlon and marathon swimming events during the Paris 2024 Games. The events will take place in the Seine, at the heart of the capital, by the Pont Alexandre III, and at the foot of the Grand Palais and Les Invalides, along scenic and urban routes chosen to enhance athletes’ performances.

The statement adds that in the Triathlon and Para Triathlon Test Event, British triathlete Beth Potter finished in first place in the women’s individual event. The podium also featured France’s Cassandre Beaugrand and Germany’s Laura Lindemann.

After an unusually intense race, Potter became the first athlete to win a sports competition featuring swimming in the Seine since 2012, when the swimming segment of the last edition of the Paris triathlon was held in the Seine.

The organising committee says that the candidature and subsequent awarding of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to Paris were a factor in accelerating this public policy, and also provided a motivating deadline for improving the water quality of the river.

This allowed for a clear schedule to be drawn up with a joint objective: to make the Seine usable for the triathlon, Para triathlon and marathon swimming competitions at the Paris 2024 Games, and to allow it to be used for public swimming from 2025.

The efforts made since 2016 with the Plan baignade [swimmability plan], supported by an investment of EUR 1.4 billion from the State and the regional communities, have brought about significant progress – polluted wastewater is now 10 times less prevalent, and the number of species of fish recorded in the Seine has increased from 14 to 32 over the last 30 years.

The organisers say that at the beginning of June 2023, analyses of the water in the Seine, based on the European rules in force, gave “excellent results”.

With a year to go before the Games, the efforts to make the Seine swimmable, led by the State and the City of Paris, continue to significantly improve the quality of water in the Seine, adds the statement.

As a reminder, major measures have already been taken since 2020 to improve the quality of the water in the Seine, thanks to the commitment of a number of stakeholders, namely the French State, the City of Paris, SIAPP, and the  departmental councils. Work has already been carried out and is having an impact in dry weather especially on the disinfection of discharges from the two wastewater treatment plants upstream of Paris on the Seine and Marne rivers was brought into service in early summer 2023, and work is underway to bring public networks and connections of the boats in the docks up to standard.

With a year to go until the Games, the clean-up drive is continuing with the most significant water quality improvement projects due to be completed in the coming months, particularly to cope with exceptional weather events.

Between now and 2024, new infrastructure will be delivered to further improve the treatment of water during heavy precipitation and thus improve water quality. The Austerlitz storage basin, a cylinder 50m in diameter and more than 30m deep, will store more than 50,000 cum of water, the equivalent of 20 Olympic size swimming pools. This reservoir will allow event organisers to be better prepared for exceptional weather events by preventing wastewater from being discharged into the Seine in the event of heavy rain. Thanks to this basin, the excess water will flow into the sewer system for treatment.

Other facilities are currently under construction and will be operational in 2024: the structures planned for the Ru Saint-Baudile catchment area in Seine-Saint-Denis, the VL 8, a 10-km long high-capacity collector between Essonne and Val-de-Marne, and the Val-de-Marne rainwater treatment plant, which, like the Austerlitz basin, is designed to receive rainwater and treat it before it is discharged into the natural environment. All boats and floating establishments located upstream of the site will be connected to the sewers.

Beyond 2024, this river clean-up programme will provide a Games legacy of a cleaned-up Seine, and, from 2025, sustainable swimming facilities, with three Paris city-centre sites in particular being earmarked.

Tony Estanguet

Tony Estanguet

“What a wonderful show! The holding of this first triathlon test event in the heart of Paris has been a resounding success, with swimming in the Seine, an exceptional running route alongside Paris’s most beautiful monuments, and, of course, a great sporting competition! Congratulations to Cassandre for this wonderful medal, and to Emma for her great fourth place! And thank you to the French and International Triathlon Federations, as well as to the public stakeholders for the huge amount of work they have undertaken by our side. This first day bodes well for the rest of the weekend!” says Tony Estanguet, Paris 2024 President.

“With less than a year to go until the Paris 2024 Games, the triathlon test event, which took place today in the waters of the Seine and the streets of the capital, has been a success. This competition in the Seine, at the foot of the Pont Alexandre III, is the fruit of the labours of many people to clean up the river, led for several years by the Mayor of Paris. The Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024 are a real accelerator for transforming the city. They will leave a strong legacy: the opening of swimming facilities for the public in summer 2025,” says Pierre Rabadan, Deputy to the Mayor of Paris, in charge of sport, the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Seine.

“Holding this first competition in the Seine is an important step in the battle to make the Seine swimmable. It is the proof that the swimmability plan started in 2020 has produced results. It is up to us to conclude it by the middle of 2024 so we can cope with exceptional weather events. The regional Prefecture is working alongside its partners to reach this objective,” says Marc Guillaume, Prefect of the Île-de-France region, Prefect of Paris.

“Holding this Test Event, on top of testing the security arrangements and the traffic flow during a major sports event in the heart of Paris, has allowed us to test the perfect coordination and interactivity between the various partners who will have to work together next year, for the Olympic and Paralympic Games,” says Magali Charbonneau, Prefect, Chief of Staff of the Prefect of Police.

“We could not have dreamt of a better scenario and venue than the one we have here in Paris. For our athletes to be able to swim in the Seine river, to ride on the Champs-Élysées, see the Arc de Triomphe, Les Invalides, the Pont Alexandre III. We always dream of being in the heart of the city, and the venue in Paris is just a dream come true. And to see so many spectators out on the streets makes us even more sure that, for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris next year, this will be an extraordinary event,” says Marisol Casado, World Triathlon.

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