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Military Forecast over 100 Athletes and Goal of Ten Medals at Rio 2016 Olympics

02/22/2016 - 08h45

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MARCEL MERGUIZO
PAULO ROBERTO CONDE
FROM SÃO PAULO

Instead of holding their tears, they stand at attention. Instead of feeling relieved for winning a medal, they hold their rigid salute.

In Brazil, the military protocol has pervaded increasingly high-performance sports. And during the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games to be held in August, the protocol will mark the peak of this connection.

Press Release/Ministério da Defesa
Equipo masculino de judo realiza un saludo militar tras recibir una medalla de oro.
The program to be continued at least until 2020, after the Word Military Games will take place in China in 2019.

The Armed Forces believe that, of the 420 forecasted competitors in the Olympic delegation, one quarter is part of their sports programs, which includes 668 athletes in 24 sports - most of them are temporary, with eight-year contracts. They belong to the three branches: the Army, Navy and Air Force.

The number - some one hundred athletes in the Olympic Games - represents a sharp increase in comparison with the event's last edition in London, when 51 servicemen and women represented Brazil, whose team had 259 members.

The doubled number of athletes has led the Ministry of Defense to forecast twice as many podiums for the country. If four years ago, they were responsible for 5 podiums out of the 17 achieved, the goal for the Olympics in Rio is ten medals.

The federal investment in the project amounts to R$ 25 million a year, shared by two ministries: the Ministry of Defense's participation is R$ 15 million to pay the athletes' salaries and the Sports Ministry has invested R$ 10 million, which pay for the athletes' presence in competitions (military or civil).

"We want the support to sports to become a government policy," Air Marshall Carlos Augusto Amaral - he is the director of the department of military sports of the Ministry of Defense.

UNTIL 2020
The link between the Armed Forces and high-performance sports was strengthened in 2008, soon after the Beijing Olympic Games, when the military launched the program with some 400 positions.

Amaral says the secretary general of the Ministry of Defense has already approved the continuation of the program at least until 2020, when the Olympic Games will be held in Tokyo and the Word Military Games will take place in China in 2019.

In March, a new call will be disclosed with 21 new positions in the Army for six Olympic sports. Amaral says, however, that the program is likely to be changed and reduced after the Rio Olympics.

Brazil has reached top results in the Military Games since it started to employ leading athletes. In the last edition held in Rio in 2011, Brazil was at the top in two categories: number of gold medals and total number of medals. Last year, in the city of Mungyeong in South Korea, Brazil was the runner up in the number of gold medals.

One year before the program began, in the Indian city of Hyderabad in 2007, Brazil did not win any gold medals.

Translated by THOMAS MUELLO
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