Australia demands extra Rio security after armed robbery
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[June 21, 2016]
By Nick Mulvenney
SYDNEY (Reuters) - The Australian
Olympic Committee have demanded Rio de Janeiro immediately ramps up
security in the city after a Paralympic sailor and team official
were robbed at gunpoint while training for the Games at the weekend.
Australia's Chef de Mission Kitty Chiller said the incident was a
"light warning" and that she had written to the Rio organising
committee and mayor demanding action.
"We're demanding that the level of security forces, which number
about 100,000, is reviewed and also we are also asking that they are
deployed earlier prior to Games time, especially around training and
competition venues," she told reporters in Sydney.
"It's not an isolated incident," she added. "It's got to a point now
that steps and measures are taken to ensure that all our team
members who go to Rio for the Olympic Games next month are safe."
Paralympic sailor Liesl Tesch and physiotherapist Sarah Ross said
they were taking a bike ride in a park near their hotel at Flamengo
Beach early on Sunday when they were confronted by two men, one of
whom was carrying a pistol.
Tesch, who won a sailing gold at the London Paralympic Games and has
also competed in wheelchair basketball, told Australian television
that the armed man pointed the gun at her and then shoved her to the
"It was absolutely horrific, I can see it clear as day in my own
head. We are both shaken, but physically we're both okay," said
Tesch, who trained on her boat later that day.
Chiller said the "extremely concerning and disturbing" incident was
all the more worrying because it took place in broad daylight close
to the training venue.
'RIO IS NOT LONDON'
The AOC, Chiller said, had decided to engage a private security firm
in Rio and were considering extending their existing ban on athletes
entering favelas to other areas of the city.
Olympic organisers plan to deploy in excess of 85,000 security
personnel for the Games, double the number used in London in 2012.
[to top of second column]
Australia's Olympic team Chef de Mission Kitty Chiller speaks to the
press in Sydney, Australia, June 21, 2016 after Australian
Paralympic sailor Liesl Tesch and team official were robbed at
gunpoint while training in Rio de Janeiro at the weekend.
"It doesn't seem that 100,000 is enough," said Chiller. "It's a lot
more than we had in London, but Rio is not London and in my opinion
we need to make sure all the competition and training venues are
"If we take 750 people over in that team, we want 750 people to come
back safe and secure."
Security issues are just one of the concerns facing Rio, which on
Friday declared a state of financial emergency to help fulfil
obligations for public services during the Olympics.
Emergency measures are needed to avoid "a total collapse in public
security, health, education, transport and environmental
management," a decree in the state's Official Gazette said.
The financial pinch resulted in a 30 percent cut in the state's
security budget - just as Rio has seen a jump in homicides and
assaults in recent months, raising concerns about safety ahead of
The Sept. 7-18 Paralympics follow the Aug. 5-21 Olympic Games.
(Additional reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford)
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