Rio ‘safest city in world during Games’

READY AND SAFE: The Olympic Village stands ready in Rio de Janeiro, on Thursday. Local organizing committee spokesman Mario Andrada said that the complex, made up of 31 towers, represents the largest athletes' village in Olympic history. It also includes a massive cafeteria and gym, a post office, a first aid center and bank. (AP)
Updated 24 June 2016

Rio ‘safest city in world during Games’

RIO DE JANEIRO: Rio de Janeiro will be “the safest city in the world” during the Olympics Games in six weeks time, organizing committee spokesman Mario Andrada has insisted.
The buildup to the August 5-21 Games have been clouded by health and security worries, after an Australian Paralympic athlete was robbed at gunpoint in the city just days ago, while several high-profile golfers have withdrawn because of fears surrounding the Zika virus.
Sailor and wheelchair basketball player Liesl Tesch became the second Olympian to be the victim of an armed robbery in Rio in the last month.
But Rio 2016 spokesman Andrada is full of confidence that the world’s biggest sporting event will take place without incident.
“Olympic security is a federal issue,” Andrada said. “It is the state of Brazil, not the regional state of Rio, which will protect athletes, tourists, media and officials.
“We have experience from the 2014 World Cup, when we welcomed the world of football in 12 venues without major incident.
“Federal security resources, experience from the World Cup and technology will ensure that Rio will be the safest city in the world during the Games.”
Earlier this week, four-time major champion Rory McIlroy added his name to a growing list of golfers who will skip their sport’s return to the Olympics after a 112-year absence.
Along with other former major champions Vijay Singh and Charl Scwhartzel, McIlroy cited the mosquito-borne Zika virus as a key reason for his decision.
Reigning Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford even had his sperm frozen because of concerns of the effects of the disease, which is linked to serious birth defects.
Andrada insisted though that there is no need for athletes coming to Brazil to worry.
“Zika is a global issue. The World Health Organization (WHO) has global leadership on this issue and has said several times that Zika did not represent a public health risk for the Olympics,” he said.
“It will be winter. Today, we have more risk of being infected by Zika in Florida than in Rio.
“We are confident that athletes who come to Rio will find a safe city without mosquitoes, without Zika, and with an ideal atmosphere in which to become heroes of the Olympic world and win medals.”
There has also been confusion surrounding the budget for the competition, with Rio de Janeiro mayor Eduardo Paes saying that the Games have cost 35 percent less than expected and were not to blame for Brazil’s disastrous economy.
But Andrada said that that does not mean that too much money had been given to the organizing committee.
“What we did was we saved to be guaranteed to have money until the end,” he added. “Part of the money we received comes from the IOC (International Olympic Committee). So that we don’t spend time looking for money the IOC have anticipated some of the payments to make things easier until the start of the Olympic Games.”

Southgate to bring Sterling back from England exile

Updated 17 November 2019

Southgate to bring Sterling back from England exile

  • World Cup semifinalists ‘still have room for improvement as they chase first major title since 1966’

PRISTINA:  Gareth Southgate is set to bring Raheem Sterling back from his brief England exile in Sunday’s qualifier against Kosovo as he seeks to end the controversy over the Manchester City star’s row with Joe Gomez.

Sterling was dropped for Thursday’s 7-0 rout of Montenegro after clashing with England team-mate Gomez in the Three Lions’ training base canteen.

It is believed Sterling was unhappy with Gomez following an altercation with the Liverpool defender during City’s Premier League defeat at Anfield last weekend.

Although Sterling was left out of the Montenegro game as punishment for his attack on Gomez, Southgate has confirmed the winger will return for England’s final Group A fixture.

Sterling and Gomez, left with a scratch under his eye after the incident, are said to have patched up their relationship, but the center-back was jeered by England fans at Wembley when he came on as a substitute against Montenegro.

Both Southgate and Sterling expressed their support for Gomez and criticized the booing supporters, with the England manager reportedly comforting the shocked 22-year-old and his family after the match.

Now Southgate could include Gomez against Kosovo in a show of support for the Liverpool player.

With England already guaranteed to qualify for Euro 2020 in first place in their group, Southgate already planned to make changes, although he is keen to ensure England finish with a win as they eye a top-six seeding in next year’s tournament.

“We will make some changes, for sure, but the seeding in the group could be critical and we know it’s a big night for the Kosovans,” Southgate said.

“It’s a shame for them that they’re now out of this part of the qualification, although they’ve still got the playoffs in which I think they’ll be a huge threat in that format. “So, it will be a good test for us because it will still be a lively environment.

“The enthusiasm for the game is high and we want to finish the group with as many points as we can.”

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson could return following a one-match ban, while Southgate has to decide whether to keep faith with Ben Chilwell ahead of Danny Rose at left-back.

Harry Kane may have scored a hat-trick against Montenegro but it was Leicester’s Chilwell who was named England’s man of the match following a fine display in which he provided three assists in the opening 24 minutes.

“Ben, I liked the hunger in his game, the enthusiasm to get forward,” Southgate said.

“The whole team pressed well but he also pressed well from that full-back position, got into overlaps, his quality of delivery was excellent.”

Although England have cruised through their qualifying group, Southgate believes the 2018 World Cup semifinalists still have room for improvement as they chase a first major title since 1966.

“There were a couple of chances we conceded that just shouldn’t happen, so that’s still part of our game that we’ve got to improve upon,” he said.

“If we are to be a team that are going to challenge seriously, although we’re young, we’ve got to manage games well.

“We’ve got to make sure that, although we’re such a fantastic attacking threat, the rest of the team is right as well. There are things we’ve got to be better at.”