Rio de Janeiro’s favelas will be off-limits to Australian athletes during the 2016 Olympics, the Australian Olympic Committee confirmed in a statement in response to comments made by the Rio Mayor. “We love Brazil and we look forward to sharing in the excitement of the RIO Games in August. RIO has made tremendous progress with their Games’
preparations and the Australian athletes are all looking forward to competing in RIO. We have no doubt RIO will deliver,” reads the statement. “In regard to the favelas, the Chef de Mission of the Australian Olympic Team, Kitty Chiller, has decided that the favelas are off limits to our athletes because of the security. We have a Team of 450 athletes, there is no way we could manage, or police, visits to the favelas by our athletes.
“We have taken advice from our security expert who is part of the Australian Olympic Team travelling to RIO in August. He has advised that it would be impossible for us to allow our athletes to visit the favelas because we could not control visits involving a large number of athletes going to different places at different times. – Our athletes will certainly engage with the residents of RIO, and they will join in the fun on Copa beach but the favelas are areas we cannot control and the personal safety of our athletes must come first”.
The Australian Olympic Committee has been described as a “source of aggressions” by Mayor Eduardo Paes after Kitty Chiller told Australian media that their Olympians would be barred from going to the urban slums, even on official tours. “There is still much unfamiliarity about Rio and Brazil,” Paes said.”There is a certain dramatization. And between us, the Australian committee has been a source of aggressions to Brazil.”
This story first appeared in the blog, The Sport Intern. The editor is Karl-Heinz Huba of Lorsch, Germany. He can be reached at ISMG@aol.com. The article is reprinted here with permission of Huba.