"We will have to ask ourselves the question of the sustainability of the surfing events in Teahupoo." The controversy over the surfing events at the Paris 2024 Games has not died down. The President of French Polynesia comes to blow on it. To question the sustainability of the events, Moetai Brotherson cancelled his planned visit to Tahiti, where the surfing competition of the 2024 Olympics is due to take place.
During technical tests on Friday, filmed by environmental groups, the barge planned for the installation of the new judges' tower broke coral. Moetai Brotherson decided to cancel the tests scheduled in his presence on Saturday and to suspend the work that was due to start on Monday, ruling out the use of the old wooden tower as the associations want.
"Today we broke coral, tomorrow, if we use these old devices, we are potentially putting lives at risk, I will not take this responsibility," he told local television channel TNTV. "If, in the end, there is no solution, since we will not be able to reuse the old foundations anyway (... nor) the old tower, we will have to ask ourselves the question of the sustainability of the surfing events in Teahupoo," he added.
Unable to move the event to France
The project manager is always looking for technical solutions, he says. After proposing it in November, the Polynesian president admitted to AFP that moving the competition to another Tahitian wave was not possible "since it is Teahupoo's bid that has been submitted". Moving the event to a wave in France would cost "several billion Pacific francs" (several million euros), he warned.
Without a solution, "we will have to ask ourselves the question of the sustainability" of the Games in Teahupo'o, warns Moetai Brotherson #polynésie #tahiti #brotherson #teahupoohttps://t.co/XlzMAIhmV3
— TNTV (@TahitinuiTV) December 2, 2023
The director of the Tahiti site for Paris 2024, Barbara Martins-Nio, acknowledged the incident during Friday's technical test. "The associations are right, the accessibility of the site is complex, we want to reach out to them by suggesting a close technical collaboration in order to regain serenity," she said.
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"I am confident that a technical solution exists, the challenge today is to find a communication channel that suits everyone and that takes into account the basic premise, 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 comes next," she said. Vai ara o Teahupoo, the main association opposed to the new aluminum judges' tower, has chosen not to speak to the media.