Rio 2016: After Armed Robbery, Australia Asks for Extra Security 

Australia’s Chef de Mission Kitty Chiller has written to the Rio organising committee and mayor demanding action.

Published21 Jun 2016, 07:17 AM IST
2 min read

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
Kitty Chiller, Chef de Mission for Australia

She added that,

It’s not an isolated incident. 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 ground.

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.
Liesl Tesch

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.

It doesn’t seem that 100,000 is enough. 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 safe.
Kitty Chiller

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 Olympics.

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