The Australian Olympic Committee has upset Rio officials by imposing a ban on their athletes going to the city’s favelas during this year’s Olympic Games over security fears.
Team chef de mission Kitty Chiller said the urban slums would be off-limits to its 450 athletes, a move that prompted Rio mayor Eduardo Paes to reportedly claim ‘the Australian committee has been a source of aggression to Brazil’.
Chiller put out a statement late Wednesday defending the decision. “We love Brazil and we look forward to sharing in the excitement of the Rio Games in August,” said Chiller. “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.”
But she added that after taking security advice it was decided not to allow Australian athletes into the favelas, which are notorious for their crime and gang warfare.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 26th, 2016.
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