Athletes refuse to swim in Japan amid nuclear fears

Updated: Apr 08, 2011, 13:25 PM IST

Sydney: Olympic champions Jan Frodeno and Emma Snowsill have blasted the International Triathlon Union`s (ITU) decision to go ahead with next month`s world championship series in Japan, local media reported on Friday.

The Olympic qualifier would require the participants to swim 1.5 km at Yokohama harbour, some 300km south of the Fukushima nuclear reactor that was devastated by last month`s massive quake and tsunami.

Alarmed by reports of radioactive water being released into the ocean in Yokohama, Frodeno and Snowsill are not ready to risk their health, a newspaper reported.

"I don`t think it`s right for the ITU to take that sort of decision for the athletes," Frodeno was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

"As much as I like racing in Japan, I don`t think it`s right to go there next month. Tourism organisations all around the world are advising people not to go there now."

"The day I got the e-mail saying the race was going ahead, I saw news reports that said the Japanese were dumping 11.5 million litres of radioactive water into the ocean 300km up the road. That didn`t strike me as safe," said the German.

Frodeno said most of his peers share his fears.

"Except for very few, everyone feels the same," he said.

"It`s just not right to put your health at risk for Olympic qualifying."

Bureau Report