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Rio green pools are safe, organizers say despite water polo problems

Europe
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Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - The strange green colour of the outdoor diving and water polo pools at the Rio Olympics do not pose a danger to athletes‘ health, organizers reiterated Thursday, despite complaints from water polo players who competed the day before.

"My eyes hurt from the water, it‘s not good," Hungary‘s Gergo Zalanki told journalists after his team played Greece on Wednesday. "I‘m used to it because we have a lot of [green] water like this in Hungary, but I think there might be something else wrong too."

"The problem is they put way too much chlorine in. I could barely open my eyes for the final quarter," US player Tony Azevedo added. "This is the Olympic Games and they are putting so much chlorine in the water that people can‘t see. You can‘t have that."

Water treatment problems have been blamed for the unusual coloration, with FINA - the ruling body for water sports - saying that water tanks had ran out of some chemicals, leading the pH level of the water to be outside the usual range.

"There is absolutely no risk to the health of the athletes," organizing committee spokesman Mario Andrada told journalists in Rio on Thursday.

He added that the pools could have been turned blue much faster, but that chemicals were used sparingly to make sure that there would be no "risk whatsoever to the health of the athletes."

Rain slowed the process on Wednesday, but Andrada said he expected the pools to be blue by the end of Thursday.

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