At a time when the CTO and local tourist agencies are trying to promote Cyprus as an ideal destination for winter training for teams and individual athletes, in Larnaca athletes of international ranking are training in conditions which can be described as Third World.
At the swimming pool under the auspices of the Cyprus Sports Association (CSO), those in charge have made sure to offer, as ancillary services, make-shift outdoor toilets and training is taking place in conditions which puts health at risk. Russia's National Olympic Triathlon Team, which sent 20 of whose select athletes are training at the CSO swimming pool do not even have place to change clothes or to store their personal items somewhere safe.
And they do not yet know the condition of the water in the pool where they have been swimming for days, with the results of the tests to be given today.
The young Russian Olympic athletes said the weather in Cyprus is perfect and would not comment on the facilities when asked.
Larnaca Mayor Andreas Louroutziatis, when informed by this reporter, asked to be briefed as soon as possible about the quality of the water at the pool, which is used on a daily basis by children and athletes. Through the municipality's health services, the CSO said that the results of the chemical tests on the state of the water in the water tanks and the swimming on the Larnaca-Dhekelia road are expected today.
The swimming pool remains open, but the past days the toilets and showers are closed. Yesterday the tanks were cleaned and disinfected by a private company brought in by CSO. According to reliable information, the cleaning and disinfecting was requested by the health services of Larnaca Municipality as it was aware that the water storage facilities at the swimming pool have not been cleaned for years. Additional information indicated that the cleaning and disinfecting took place yesterday on suspicion there may be some infectious bacteria in the water, perhaps even the legionnaires disease bacteria.
The state of the water - or swamp water from the tanks that was emptied yesterday - was captured yesterday by our camera lens. We were also first hand witnesses of the conditions under which the Russian athletes have been training there for the past six days.
It is the Triathlon Olympic Team which is based in Moscow and is made up of 20 athletes from all over Russia. The athletes said they will remain on the island for another 14 days, training daily in swimming, cycling and running, the events included in the Triathlon for which they compete under the colours of Russia in the Olympic Games.
As they said and confirmed by us, the Russian athletes do not have access to changing rooms and water at the CSO's swimming pool. They take off and put on their clothes at the benches where they also leave their bags with their personal items. The only services offered to them, except for the swimming pool, are the mobile plastic toilets.
Asked whether they were satisfied with the training conditions in Cyprus and Larnaca, the young athletes answered with a smile and, looking around them, said "the weather in Cyprus is very good".