Brazil sports minister assures political crisis will not affect Olympics

Rio de Janeiro, April 14 (IANS) Brazil’s sports minister Ricardo Leyser has assured that the current political crisis in the South American country will not affect the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The crisis is making the local people seem uninterested in the upcoming sporting event, acknowledged Leyser while talking on a radio programme on Wednesday, reports Xinhua.

The minister said that the Games will leave an important legacy of sports infrastructure for the country.

With just 114 days to go before the start of the competitions, construction work is 97 percent complete and the country will fulfil all its international commitments.

“The political crisis will not affect the Games because it will divert the population’s (attention). We are going to receive the best athletes in the world and the people are interested in seeing these events,” said Leyser on Wednesday.

Brazil is currently going through a political crisis with President Dilma Rousseff facing impeachment. The President is facing a vote in the Chamber of Deputies.

The opposition has accused the president of fiscal irregularities. If the judgment is approved by two thirds of the lawmakers the issue will pass onto the Senate.

The sports minister said the Olympic torch’s journey will interest Brazilians and will encourage the sale of more tickets for the Games. The torch will arrive in Brasilia on May 3 to begin the journey around the whole country until the official opening in Rio on August 5.

Leyser added that the Olympic flame has great strength and is very important to Brazil in these times of uncertainty.

“It is a symbol of peace and union between people. In ancient times, even wars were suspended for the Olympics,” said the minister.

The Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will take place between August 5 and 21 and the Paralympics will start on September 7 and end on the 18th of the same month.

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