The UK diplomatic mission in Brazil welcomed the members of the British Olympic Association (BOA) and Team GB for a reception at Club Paissandu in Leblon, Rio. The delegation came to Brazil for a recce of the facilities in Belo Horizonte, where Team GB’s Preparation Camp will be based before the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. In Rio, the agenda included meetings between Team GB and the Rio 2016 Organising Committee and a visit to the future Olympic Park. Overall, 33 British joined the mission and they were greeted by Alex Ellis, the British Ambassador to Brazil. “We have been working in partnership with the BOA and the Team GB for months, as well as the Paralympic Association, to ensure that our Olympic teams have a great stay here and, as a result, our athletes can be well prepared to participate in the next Olympic Games” he said.
Bill Sweeney, BOA Chief Executive said: “We have had an extremely warm welcome from ROCOG and the city over the past few days. The Ambassador and his team have provided outstanding support to ensure that our first of three Team Leader visits we have planned to Rio between now and Games time has been a success. The meetings we have had with key organisations and individuals in the city will enable us to continue move forward with our planning for the Games”.
Mark England, Team GB Chef de Mission, said: “Team Leader visits are a hugely important part of our preparations for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. They are offer a fantastic opportunity to the team to get an early view of the venues and the city. We are leaving no stone unturned to ensure we prepare the right environment for Team GB athletes to perform at their best. The support we have received both during, and in the run up to our trip has been first class”.
Before the arriving in the Rio 2016 Olympic Village, over 70% of Team GB athletes and support staff will transit through Belo Horizonte – and depending on what they compete in, they will make use of the infrastructure of three training centres: Minas Tenis Clube, Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) and Minas Náutico. The agreement that defined Belo Horizonte and these centres as training base for Team GB was signed in 2013 during the visit of the Chairman of the British Olympic Association and also Olympic champion, Lord Sebastian Coe.
Minas Tenis Clube will see some of Team GB’s combat skills such as boxing and taekwondo refine their preparations. Whilst track and field athletes will use the facilities at the UFMG. Finally, Minas Nautico will host Team GB’s sprint canoe team who have already visited the club for a training camp earlier this year.
The Team Leaders visited all facilities during the recce and also some construction work of the future Olympic venues in Rio de Janeiro. The British delegation also had the opportunity to become familiarise themselves with the routes that the teams travel during the event. The British delegation will make a further two visits of this format before the Games begin, but the dates are yet undefined.