Australia demands extra Rio security after armed robbery

Tue Jun 21, 2016 5:41am EDT
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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 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," 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.   Continued...

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.    REUTERS/Jason Reed