Britain and Brazil will work closely together in the build-up to the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics, the leaders of the two countries, David Cameron and Dilma Rousseff, agreed today.
The British Prime Minister and Brazilian President held talks and the Olympics was high on the agenda following the massive success of London 2012, which has set a high bar for Rio 2016 to match.
“We’re not stopping running and simply passing the baton to Rio,” said Cameron. “Britain wants to play a big part in helping Brazil organize great Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
At the meeting, Cameron and Rousseff signed a series of accords aimed at boosting cooperation ahead of the Olympics, as well as intensifying exchanges in education, science and energy research.
Cameron claimed that British companies had already signed contracts in Brazil worth £70 million ($113 million/€88 million) ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and the 2016 Olympics, and were also in the running for contracts worth another £250 million ($404 million/€314 million).
“The British brand has never been stronger,” said Cameron. “We put on an incredible show in London in 2012, that was a fantastic advertisement for modern Britain and all that we can achieve.”
“This summer Britain set a new Olympic benchmark,” Cameron continued. “We delivered London 2012 on time and under budget and showed the world that Britain has the skills, capacity, creativity and expertise to put on the greatest show on earth. Now we want to make sure we seize this unique opportunity to build on the close ties we have developed with Brazil as the next host nation, share our experiences and open the door for more British businesses. With UK companies already working closely with Rio 2016, winning contracts and building business links, we are in an ideal position to boost British business in Brazil from Rio 2016 and beyond.”
Earlier, under tight police protection, Cameron toured a Rio shantytown controlled by drug traffickers.
Cameron was welcomed by children practicing capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian martial art, at the headquarters of the British-funded “Fight for Peace” non-Governmental organization located in the “Complexo da Mare,” a cluster of slums located near Galeão–Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport.
With more than 100 police backed by armoured vehicles providing tight security, Cameron later strolled with the children through the streets of Nova Holanda, one of the 16 favelas making up Complexo da Mare.
Unlike many other favelas, where since 2008 security forces have wrested control from drug traffickers ahead of Brazil 2014 and Rio 2016 the area is still under the sway of several drug gangs.
Special police units have been deployed in those slums where drug traffickers have been evicted.
Founded by British boxer Luke Dowdney, “Fight For Peace” cares for 2,250 youths a year, teaching them boxing and other martial arts.
British boxers Anthony Joshua and Nicola Adams, who both won gold medals at London 2012, also visited the favela to give the children special lessons.
“Sport can be a means of survival for these children because it gives them something good to focus on that,” said Adams, who made history at London 2012 when she became the first ever Olympic female boxing champion when she won the gold medal in the flyweight division. “What Luke is doing is fantastic. Projects like this are really important to the slums. I support this project because it gives 100 percent chance for these children to have a better future.”
Contact the writer of this story at email@example.com. Inside the Games is a blog of the London Organizing Committee for the recent London Olympics and Paralympics. This article is reprinted here with permission of the publishers.