Spanish Team Assaulted in Rio de Janeiro

Published on May 21st, 2016

The Real Federación Española de Vela, the Spanish sailing federation, released a statement that two of its sailors and a coach were robbed at gunpoint during the morning of May 21 while in Rio de Janeiro to train for the 2016 Olympic Games to be held in August.

The Spanish Nacra 17 team of Fernando Echavarri and Tara Pacheco, along with their coach Santi López-Vázquez, were approached by five people armed with two pistols. The incident occurred while the three Spanish team members were walking to breakfast in the neighborhood of Santa Teresa, a picturesque part of Rio that is a favourite for foreign visitors.

No injuries were reported, but as Lopez-Vazquez explains, “It was a very unpleasant experience.” Rio’s tourism police said in a statement that “a bag with money, documents, and a camera were taken” during the incident.

Echavarri is the 2008 Olympic gold medalist in the Tornado class and Pacheco is a two-time world champion in the 470 class.

“Civil police are working to identify the authors of the crime and to recover the stolen objects,” said the police statement.

“The lack of security in Rio is one of the points of greatest concern to the teams,” said the federation in the statement. “Now the Spanish team has suffered the violence that lives in Rio de Janeiro within three months of the Olympics.”

Note: Photo above is a stock image from the neighborhood of Santa Teresa.

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