Olympics-Safety is Paris 2024's priority, Games boss says amid surfing tower row


FILE PHOTO: People protesting plans to build a new judging tower for the Paris 2024 Olympic surfing event in Tahiti gather outside the headquarters of the International Surfing Association in Cardiff near San Diego, California, U.S. December 2, 2023. David Anderson/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - Safety is Paris 2024's top priority, organising committee president Tony Estanguet said on Thursday after the construction of a judging tower for the surfing competition at next year's Olympics was stopped because of environmental concerns.

Last week, a barge bringing the aluminium tower to the Tahiti site of Teahupo'o damaged the coral reef, bringing work to a halt.

"We had found a solution to replace that (wooden judging) tower which did not meet the (Olympic) safety standards. We will not compromise on safety," Estanguet told local TV channel Polynesie La 1ère.

"The first test did not go well, some coral was damaged. The works were stopped immediately. With the Polynesian government we are trying to find some technical solutions while respecting the environment."

While the French cities of Lacanau and La Torche said they would be ready to host the surfing events if needed, Estanguet insisted there was still time to find a solution, with just under eight months to go before the July 26-Aug. 11 Olympics.

"I heard some cities were candidates in case we fail in Teahupo'o. But as a partner of the Polynesian government I want to put all my energy into the project so we can have the surfing events in Tahiti," said Estanguet

"We have been anticipating so we have time ahead of us. We still have a bit of time to find another technical solution to have this tower installed while respecting the environment.

"I trust the local authorities and the company in charge of the installation to find a way to get this barge access to the site without damaging the coral."

In October, residents of Teahupo'o protested against plans by Games organisers to build a 14 metre aluminium tower that would allow up to 40 people to watch, film and judge the surfing at a famed break in front of the village.

Organisers, including Paris 2024 and the French Polynesia government, said last month they had decided that building a smaller, lighter tower on the site was the best option. This would allow for smaller installation equipment but would still require new foundations in the reef.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Toby Davis)

Follow us on our official WhatsApp channel for breaking news alerts and key updates!
   

Next In Others

Australia pledges more funds for rugby in Pacific diplomacy push
Figure skating-Canada, Russia file appeals against re-ranking of 2022 Olympic team result
Liek Hou to fully focus on singles as Games title defence approaches
No barrier too big for volleyball player Mei Cing as she spices it up in Japan
Three-peat for Wai Ching in LA
Paris-bound sailor Shazrin to train in France as Games warm-up
MFL and sponsor bring BiG joy to parents and students
Hannah sees fit to stub out vape companies from sporting scene
Team experience gives Alice boost to seal individual Olympics ticket
Olympics-Breaking duo set to bring street culture to Olympic movement

Others Also Read