Hopes receding for Loch’s Games bid?

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COMMONWEALTH Games officials are considering moving the triathlon from Strathclyde Park over pollution fears.

The 1,500 metre open-air swim for the event at Glasgow 2014 is due to take place in Strathclyde Loch, but concerns over the water quality means organisers are now drawing up contingency plans.

Last year Lord Coe, chairman of the London Olympic Games Organising Committee, lavished prise on the venue, however this had come just months after a major event for 2,000 swimmers had to be cancelled when blue-green algae in the water was found to be twice the recommended safety level.

At present swimming is banned in the loch as tests are carried out following more than 50 people taking ill with sickness, stomach cramps and diarrhoea at an event earlier this year.

A £150,000 project is currently being carried out by North Lanarkshire Council, NHS Lanarkshire, SEPA and Scottish Water to improve the quality of the water, as well as testing procedures, with heavy rain blamed for the latest pollution.

This week the council confirmed that all surface sports are now able to take place, but people are still being discouraged from immersing themselves in the water.

A spokesman said: “As a result of this work, all surface watersports can now resume. These include kayaking, rowing and sailing.

“Recent testing of loch water showed the situation had improved, and results of further testing are expected in the next few days.

“These will determine whether immersion sports like swimming, windsurfing and water skiing can be reinstated.”

Glasgow 2014 organisers are investigating the matter and will make a final decision next year.

A spokesperson said: “Glasgow 2014 is committed to delivering a high-quality triathlon venue to stage this exciting sport as part of the Commonwealth Games programme.

“We are working in partnership with a number of organisations including North Lanarkshire Council, SEPA and the sustainable development broker Sniffer to form a technical advisory group tasked with ensuring Strathclyde Loch continues to be used for sporting and recreational purposes and as the triathlon venue for the Commonwealth Games.

“The first of on-going official reports from the group is not due until early to mid 2013 and no decisions will be made until after then. We also continue to have dialogue with sports technical officials and regulatory bodies.

“As is regular practice at this stage in the delivery of a multi-sports, multi-venue Games, the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee continues to develop the detail of operational venue plans through experts in a range of disciplines including sport, risk management, overlay, environment and sustainability and venue operations. As part of this process we are developing contingency plans to mitigate against risks and issues.”