The President of French Polynesia, Moetai Brotherson, canceled his planned visit to Teahupoo on Saturday, December 2, where the surfing competition of the 2024 Olympic Games is to take place, after once again questioning the “sustainability” of this ordeal. During technical tests on Friday, filmed by environmental defense associations, the barge planned for the installation of the new judges’ tower broke coral.
Mr. Brotherson decided to cancel the tests scheduled in his presence on Saturday and to suspend the work which was to begin on Monday, excluding using the old wooden tower as the associations wish. “Today, we broke coral, tomorrow, if we use these old devices, we are potentially putting lives in danger, I will not take this responsibility”he declared on the local television channel TNTV.
Read also: Paris 2024: the surfing event maintained at Teahupoo, with a new project for a judges’ tower
The Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Cojop) of Paris 2024 and the local Tahitian authorities announced, on November 17, the construction, on the Teahupoo site, of a new aluminum tower having the same surface area (150 meters squares) and the same weight (9 tonnes) as the old wooden tower, assembled before the competition and then dismantled. This should, according to Paris 2024, make it possible to reduce the drilling depth of the foundations.
The director of the Tahiti site for Paris-2024, Barbara Martins-Nio, acknowledged the incident during Friday’s technical test. “The associations are right, accessibility to the site is complex, we would like to reach out to them by suggesting close technical collaboration in order to find peace of mind”she told AFP.
“A new tower and new foundations are the only solution”
“If in the end there is no solution, since we will no longer be able to reuse the old foundations (…nor) the old tower, we will have to ask ourselves the question of the sustainability of the surfing events at Teahupoo », he added. The project manager is always looking for technical solutions, according to him.
After proposing it in November, Mr. Brotherson admitted to AFP that moving the competition to another Tahitian wave was not possible. “since it was Teahupoo’s application which was submitted”. Moving the event to a French wave would amount to “several billion Pacific francs” (several million euros), he warned.
“I am confident that a technical solution exists, assured Barbara Martins-Nio. The challenge today is to find a communication channel that suits everyone and that takes into account the basic postulate, namely that a new tower and new foundations are the only solution. If we don’t succeed, then we will have to collectively ask ourselves the question of what’s next.”she expressed.
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