Update from 2023 World Triathlon Championship Series Sunderland

03 August, 2023

Update from 2023 World Triathlon Championship Series Sunderland

Updated 15/08/2023

UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) North East’s Health Protection team has today announced its preliminary findings on causes of illness in participants who took part in the UK leg of the World Triathlon Championship Series in Sunderland. You can view their report and an FAQ document below.

British Triathlon welcomes this interim report from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and its findings, and we are very grateful to everyone who has cooperated with the investigation. British Triathlon is committed to supporting the investigation and encourages anyone affected to make contact.

British Triathlon conducted several independent water quality tests in the swim area, and all were confirmed as Excellent in accordance with EU Bathing Water Directive standards (2006/7/EC). Following the event, an Environment Agency test taken outside the swim area on 26 July was published which showed adverse water quality.

You can view the British Triathlon water quality test from Sunday 30 July (event weekend) here.

UKHSA statement



Previous Statement: 03/08/2023

British Triathlon and World Triathlon are aware of illness among some participants following 2023 World Triathlon Championship Series Sunderland.

We have communicated with participants regarding the situation and we will continue to work with Sunderland City Council and the UK Health Security Agency North East (UKHSA North East) in line with their routine processes to establish further information.

Whilst the cause of this illness is being investigated by the relevant authorities, anyone who is or who has been feeling unwell is encouraged to view the online resources below.

For information about staying safe when open water swimming, please view the information from the UK Health Security Agency here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/swim-healthy-leaflet/swim-healthy.

Participants who have already reported illness to British Triathlon are being contacted by UKHSA North East to support their investigations.

We are aware there are concerns around water quality results for a test taken on 26 July by the Environment Agency as part of their regular testing in the local area. These tests were taken outside of the Roker Pier arms and not in the body of water used for the swim and published on Monday 31 July following the event. Below is an outline of information and a timeline of water testing activity:

  • In line with the World Triathlon guidelines for hosting a World Triathlon Championship Series event, a series of water quality tests were undertaken in the build up to the event including on Thursday 20 July and analysed in a United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) accredited laboratory. These results were received on Tuesday 25 July and passed the required standard to host the event.
  • Also in line with World Triathlon guidelines, a further test was conducted during the course of the event on Sunday 30 July and analysed in a UKAS accredited laboratory. Indicative results were received on Wednesday 2 August and passed the required standard to host the event.
  • Both of these tests were taken within the Roker Pier arms where the swim leg of 2023 World Triathlon Championship Series Sunderland took place
  • On Monday 31 July, data was published by the Environment Agency showing reduced water quality was detected on Wednesday 26 July in an area of Roker Beach outside of the pier arms and swim area of the event
  • Since Monday 31 July, British Triathlon has been working closely with Sunderland City Council and UK Health Security Agency to seek further information and investigate the cause of the illness

British Triathlon will continue to work with Sunderland City Council and UKHSA North East on this matter.