Olympics organisers said Friday they will stick with a famous Tahiti beach for surfing contests at next year's Games, but agreed to modify plans for a tower that has had environmentalists up in arms.
Surfers are due to catch the first waves of the Paris 2024 contests in nine months in Tahiti, some 15,000 kilometres (9,300 miles) from the French capital, but a plan to build a giant tower in a legendary surf spot sparked fierce local resistance.
Several hundred people have been protesting at the site near the beach of Teahupoo – one of the world's most famous surfing areas and the designated Olympic venue – against plans to erect a 14-metre (46-foot) aluminium structure in the water for judges to better assess the competition.
Local associations argued the installation would damage corals beyond repair. An online petition against the project attracted more than 160,000 signatures.
Moetai Brotherson, President of French Polynesia – which comprises more than 100 islands including Tahiti – suggested a different spot for the competition, without the need for a tower.
In a statement Friday organisers rejected the idea of ditching the "iconic" surfing spot, saying they had instead agreed with the Polynesian government to build a "more moderate" judges' tower.
Read more on FRANCE 24 English
Paris Olympics 2024: A game changer for Seine-Saint-Denis?
Seine River events scrapped again, renewing doubts over Paris Olympics plan
Paris riverside booksellers refuse to move for 2024 Olympics