Pollution concerns have overshadowed the latest sailing test event on Guanabara Bay once again ©AFP/Getty Images

Pollution worries have been to the fore once again during the Rio 2016 sailing test event on Guanabara Bay, with concerns over rubbish remaining on the course as well as a lack of water quality monitoring from the Rio authorities.

The event, the second sailing test event following another last year and the last scheduled before the Olympic and Paralympic Games in a year's time, has taken place amid increasing fears over the safety of athletes following an Associated Press investigation last month reporting major risks of athletes contracting viruses from the water.

South Korean windsurfer Cho Wonwoo and one other unnamed competitor were taken ill during the regatta, with Cho's coach speculating it was connected to the water, although the event has been hailed as a success "with flying colours" by Rio 2016.

A less positive report has been given by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), however, with the body's chief executive Peter Sowrey reiterating how the event could still be moved further out into the Atlantic.

This is something that Rio 2016 President Carlos Nuzman has repeatedly claimed will not happen. 

Although he said the event had gone "pretty well" from an organisational standpoint, the official expressed fears to Associated Press over high levels of rubbish on the course, which led to one of the race courses being closed after two days of obstacles impeding the sailers.

Furniture and floating animal carcasses have been among items spotted by sailors.

Sowrey also admitted they are "not happy as a federation from the reporting on the water", after the State Government reponsible for reducing levels had pledged to constantly monitor levels.

Australian pair Lisa Darmanin and Jason Waterhouse celebrate winning Nacra 17 gold during the test event ©Rio 2016/Alexandre Loureiro
Australian pair Lisa Darmanin and Jason Waterhouse celebrate winning Nacra 17 gold during the test event ©Rio 2016

Pollution concerns have failed to completely overshadow the event, however, with some sailors praising the iconic location for a sport which has rarely been held so centrally at an Olympic Games.

A total of 19 countries claimed medals after a week of racing, including Brazil's Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze in the 49erFX class.

Italy's Francesco Marrai and Lithuania's Gintare Scheidt won the respective laser and laser radial classes, while there was an Australian double for Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin in the Nacra 17 class and for Mat Belcher and Will Ryan in the men's 470 event.

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke of New Zealand continued their strong form in the 49er class, as did Britain's Giles Scott in the finn class, who will be hoping to emulate the success of compatriot Sir Ben Ainslie in the event at the last three Olympic Games.

Other winners included America's Anne Haeger and Briana Provancha in the women's 470 class and China's Aichen Wang and France's Carline Picon in the male and female windsurfing events.

It will be water quality issues which continue to hog the spotlight over coming months across all the water-based outdoor sports following a rowing test event on the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas earlier this month in which 15 members of the US team were taken ill. 

International Olympic Committee officials have also repeatedly dismissed fears, claiming the illnesses were unrelated to water quality and promising to jump into Guanabara Bay themselves in a bid to prove the cleanliness of the water.

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