August 15, 2015 / 5:23 AM / 2 years ago

Hong Kong windsurfers blown away by Rio rent charges

The headquarter of Rio 2016 Olympic Games Organising Committee is pictured in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 12, 2015. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes

HONG KONG (Reuters) - The Hong Kong Windsurfing Association’s plan to store equipment in Rio de Janeiro ahead of the 2016 Olympics has been blown off course by exorbitant rental rates.

Hong Kong competitors are in Brazil for the second test event at the International Sailing Regatta in Marina da Gloria and with further meets at the Olympic venue scheduled ahead of the Games, the association had planned to store equipment there rather than ship it back home.

A similar arrangement had been negotiated with London organizers ahead of the 2012 Games but the Asians were knocked back by Rio officials quoting them HK$1 million (about $129,000) for the storage.

“I was surprised by the figure when I first heard it,” Dennis Chau Wai-keung, executive director of the Hong Kong Windsurfing Association, told the South China Morning Post.

“Our plan was to leave our container there after the test event so we could keep all our equipment, including a coach boat, and save on shipping it all back and forth each time we go out there.”

Chu said negotiations were ongoing but said if Brazilian authorities refused to budge then alternative plans would be required.

One solution involved bringing all the equipment back on the long journey to Hong Kong after each meet at a cost of around HK$150,000 ($19,340) a time, he said.

Chu was hopeful of finding a solution, stressing the importance of attending the other events planned at the Guanabara Bay venue ahead of the Games next year.

“It’s very important to get used to the weather and sailing conditions at the marina if we want to challenge for a medal next year,” he said.

“Now, we will have to discuss the matter with the Hong Kong Sports Institute, as they are responsible for all training programs leading to Olympic Games.”

($1 = 7.7556 Hong Kong dollars)

Writing by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; editing by Sudipto Ganguly

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