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World Triathlon

World Triathlon Tokyo 2020 Olympics & Paralympics Test Event

About

World Triathlon is the world governing body for the Olympic sport of Triathlon and all related Multisport disciplines, including Duathlon, Aquathlon, Cross Triathlon and Winter Triathlon. World Triathlon was founded in 1989 and it has 172 affiliated National Federations on five continents, and is the youngest International Federation in the Olympic Games. 

World Triathlon delivers the Triathlon events at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as the World Triathlon Series and a number of other triathlon events, including ITU World Cups and Multisport events. 

World Triathlon is proudly committed to support the development of the sport worldwide, working with its partners to offer a balanced sport development programme from grassroots to a high-performance level. 

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Challenge

In August 2019, World Triathlon ran the Olympic Qualification Test Event in Tokyo. It is imperative that World Triathlon keeps the athletes in a safe competition environment, by ensuring the water they are swimming in is as clean as possible. 

Unfortunately, the local labs in Tokyo were using a test method that took far too long to provide timely results of the water quality test; 48 hours for E. coli and 96 hours for Enterococci bacteria, and this did not include additional delays from storage of samples or transport to the lab. Water quality can change dramatically during that amount of time. 

On the weekend of the Tokyo Test Event, there was a large typhoon approaching the Tokyo area. Such storms are known to cause significant changes to water quality, and the World Triathlon team didn’t have time to wait for results from the standard labs. They needed to know quickly and accurately if the water was safe enough for the athletes to compete that morning. 

Solution

The TECTA™ method detected a significant increase in E. coli bacteria, well above the WHO and World Triathlon thresholds for health and safety, leading to the cancellation of the swim portion of the Paratriathlon race by World Triathlon. The local lab’s test results confirmed this major increase in E. coli levels only the following day, many hours after the event would have already taken place. The TECTA™ method was able to detect the E. coli spike with its early-detection capabilities, and prevent what could have been a real health crisis for both the athletes and organizers. 

During the four days of the Tokyo Test Event, as well as the week prior to the event, the World Triathlon Team in Tokyo performed daily testing of the water at the Odaiba Bay venue. All tests performed in the TECTA™ system as well as the comparison samples in the local lab showed low levels of E. coli and Enterococci in the days leading up to the event. 

However, on the day of the storm event the rapid TECTA™ results confirmed the breach of the protective curtain installed around the swim course, providing valuable data for World Triathlon to take the decision of cancelling the swim leg of the Paratriathlon race, as well as the swim familiarization for the Mixed Relay, according to the TECTA™ water quality test results. 

The rapid E. coli results from the TECTA™ portable laboratory proved to be crucial to maintain the health and safety of all athletes, preventing potential illness. The results from the local laboratory, which came back 48 hours later, again confirmed the results provided by TECTA™.

Success Story

“For World Triathlon, the health and safety of our athletes is our first priority, but also is a priority our commitment with the clean environments, sustainability and legacy wherever we go, and with this partnership we show once again that we are not only talking, we are taking actions”, said World Triathlon President and IOC member, Marisol Casado. “Partnering with someone that will help us swim in cleaner environments, work with Local Organizing Committees (LOC’s) to improve the water quality everywhere we go, and leave that legacy to the host cities is something of paramount importance not only for our organization, but also should be a priority for all, to do our contribution to make the world a better and cleaner place”, she said.

“For us, partnering with TECTA™ means that we are able to have results of the water quality tests in such a short period of time, which allows the Technical team onsite to take decisions in the last minute, always according to the quality of the body of water”, said World Triathlon Sports Director, Gergely Markus.

He continued, “Working with the portable TECTA™ Lab in the Tokyo Test Event proved to be decisive for us, giving World Triathlon the ability to take decisions by having the latest data available. The portable lab is really easy and simple to use, and gave the ability to know if the water quality levels were above our threshold within 12 hours. The results were completely reliable, and matched the ones we received from the laboratory used by the LOC, which came 48- 96 hours later.” 

“We are thrilled to be partnering with World Triathlon and have the opportunity to help identify issues in the water quickly and effectively, making their events safer for the athletes,” said Tim Adams, EVP of TECTA-PDS. 

“Our technology was successful in ensuring the last Commonwealth Games in Australia went on without incident, and we were extremely pleased to be involved with the recent World Triathlon Olympic Qualification Event in Tokyo as well. We truly believe there is not a better, faster or more accurate way to test the water, and we look forward to working closely with the World Triathlon towards maintaining our mission of keeping everyone safe and healthy,” he added.

A Growing Success

Since the success with the Tokyo Olympic Qualification Test Event, World Triathlon and TECTA-PDS have entered into a partnership agreement. TECTA™ is now the official water quality partner of World Triathlon.

World Triathlon has purchased multiple TECTA™-B4 instruments to use for rapid water quality monitoring for their future event sites with unpredictable or risky water quality. World Triathlon confirmed their full trust in TECTA, acknowledging that it provides a very easy method of testing internally without any microbiology knowledge or experience.

World Triathlon has fully recommended TECTA™ to both the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and TOGOC (Tokyo Olympic Games Organising Committee) as well as other international sporting federations such as FINA (Fédération Internationale de Natation), FISA (World Rowing Federation), and World Sailing.

Key points:

• Rapid detection times compared to ref method to provide early warning of high levels of bacteria, resulting in World Triathlon using Tecta results to cancel swim event on one day, ensuring the health & safety of athletes

• Flexibility with Tecta’s ability to initiate samples at any time, with no batch process required

• No microbiologist or trained lab tech required

• Extreme ease-of-use for on-site testing (anyone, anywhere, anytime)

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