Mace, malice, mayhem and nuisance

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such as “mace, malice, mayhem and 


Vinicius Lummertz, the president 

of Embratur, a government agency 

that promotes Brazil overseas, said 

Rio will be ready. And he argues that 

any linguistic struggles will be part of 

the experience. “A lack of English is 

a problem, but trying to communicate 

with Brazilians who only speak Portu-

guese becomes a fl avor,”  Lummertz 

said. “Do you want a world that is ex-

actly the same everywhere?”

Latin America’s biggest country 

is roughly the size of the continental 

United States, which has tended to in-

sulate its people. And vast inequalities 

permeate every walk of life, including 

education, and most Brazilians have 

never had a chance to study other lan-


WASHINGTON, July 19, (AFP): Aus-

tralian top seed Samantha Stosur, de-

fending Washington Open champion 

Sloane Stephens and German teen star 

Alexander Zverev are setting aside 

Zika virus fears to compete at the Rio 


But Sam Querrey, who upset world 

number one Novak Djokovic at Wim-

bledon, isn’t going to Brazil because it 

just isn’t that big a deal to him.

Differing views over the mosquito-

carried Zika virus and the rash of recent 

tennis withdrawals from Rio came out 

Monday on day one of the ATP and 

WTA event, the fi rst hardcourt stop on 

the path to the US Open.

“It’s not something you want to take 

lightly,” Stosur said after beating Rus-

sian qualifi er Alla Kudryavtseva 6-3, 


“Other people say 

there are going to be 

far worse things go-

ing on than Zika. It’s 

about being smart, 

following all the 

guidelines. I’ve had 

all the vaccinations. 

It certainly has en-

tered my mind this 

time around.”

Several top NBA 

players, more than 20 men’s golfers 

and several top tennis players have 

withdrawn from Rio, many but not 

all citing the potential for contracting 

Zika, which causes severe illness and 

has been linked to birth defects.

“I’m kind of scared but I’m not hav-

ing any kids any time soon so I should 

be OK,” said Stephens, a 23-year-old 

American set to make her Olympic de-

but. “Some people are way more sen-

sitive and some people aren’t. It just 

depends on the person.”

Canada’s seventh-ranked Milos 

Raonic, who lost the Wimbledon men’s 

fi nal to Britain’s Andy Murray earlier 

in July, eighth-ranked Czech Tomas 

Berdych and Austria’s ninth-rated 

Dominic Thiem all said no to Rio.

So did 16th-ranked John Isner, 

the Washington men’s top seed, and 

Querrey, who doesn’t see tennis or golf 

as true Olympic sports.

“For tennis and golf, the Olympics 

isn’t a top priority,” he said. “We have 

four other Grand Slams. Those are the 




RIO DE JANEIRO, July 19, (AP): If 

English is the language of world com-

merce, Brazil hasn’t gotten the memo 

— only a small fraction of its 200 mil-

lion people have a basic profi ciency. 

Fluency is also rare for other languag-

es such as German, French and even 

Spanish, despite Brazil being bordered 

by seven Spanish-speaking countries.

Many of the hundreds of thousands 

of tourists expected to descend on Rio 

de Janeiro for the Olympics in a few 

weeks could frequently fi nd  them-

selves in a linguistic muddle.

Vanderclei Silva Santos, who sells 

caipirinha, Brazil’s national cocktail, 

says he struggles to communicate with 

foreign tourists who stop at his stand 

on Copacabana Beach, so he uses his 

fi ngers and toes to write prices and 

shapes in the sand.

Most of the time it works, but try-

ing and funny moments are common, 

like the time a woman made chomp-

ing gestures to ask where she might 

fi nd fresh corn on the cob, or the time 

a man seemed to be urgently asking to 

use a “banho” but really was trying to 

fi gure out where to shower.

“Communicating is tough. We 

move our hips, we smile, which tour-

ists like. We fi nd a way,” said Santos, 

a 39-year-old who hopes to one day 

take a basic English course, something 

that until recent years generally was 

available only for wealthy Brazilians 

and is still not widely offered.

Attempting over the last year to 

bridge the language gap for the Sum-

mer Games, Rio de Janeiro state, 

the Olympic Committee and several 

companies have offered in-person 

and online English courses to several 

thousand service industry workers, 

Olympic volunteers and police — 

those most likely to come in contact 

with tourists. 

“Do you know the meaning of ‘I’m 

going to kick your butt?’” teacher 

Rafael Vianna asked this week to a 

dozen tourist police in an advanced 

course aimed at preparing them to help 

English speakers sort through any is-

sues that come up, from harassment to 


“It’s often used in sports and can be 

interpreted in different ways depend-

ing on the context.” On the black-

board, Vianna wrote and defi ned some 

words that tourists in distress may use, 

Virginia Garcia, former head of the 

British Council in Brazil, said research 

by the council a few years ago found 

that only 5 percent of Brazilians spoke 

English at a profi cient  level.  Garcia 

said English instruction in public 

schools is limited, although several 

big events hosted by Brazil in recent 

years, including the Pan American 

Games, the World Cup and a visit by 

Pope Francis, have slowly pushed the 

country to expand language teaching.

“Twenty years ago, only people 

coming from the high classes could 

learn other languages in Brazil,” Gar-

cia said. “It’s slowly getting more 


Antonio Carlos de Moraes Sartini, 

director of the Sao Paulo-based Muse-

um of the Portuguese Language, said 

Brazil’s intense focus on Portuguese 

dates to 1750, when the Portugal’s 

monarchy made teaching the language 

mandatory to create a national identity 

different from the surrounding Span-

ish-speaking colonies.

At the time, only about 20 percent 

of people in Brazil spoke Portuguese, 

while more than 1,000 indigenous 

languages prevailed. A few hundred 

of those languages are still spoken, 

mostly in the Amazonian region, but 

the vast majority of indigenous peo-

ples now also speak Portuguese.

Linguistic struggles

Visiting Rio for Olympics?

Get your Portuguese ready

‘Everything in moderation’

Age is no barrier for Olympic gymnast warrior Chusovitina

TASHKENT, July 19, (AFP): Oksana 

Chusovitina is training for a record-

breaking seventh Olympic Games that 

will see the Uzbek star become the 

oldest woman gymnast to compete at 

the age of 41.

Chusovitina’s qualifi cation for the 

Rio Games extended a staggering ca-

reer that has seen her represent three 

different countries over a quarter of a 

century in a sport dominated by teen 


Chusovitina, whose son is as old as 

many of her rivals for Rio medals, said 

she does not deprive herself to main-

tain her muscular 1.50 meter (5 feet) 

tall, 43 kg (95 pound) frame.

“I just train and perform because do-

ing so brings me pleasure.” Chusovi-

tina told AFP during a break in recent 

training at the vast Gymnastics Palace 

in Tashkent.


Chusovitina started her career com-

peting for the Soviet Union. After it 

collapsed, she went to the 1992 Olym-

pics in Barcelona for the Confedera-

tion of Independent States, a unifi ed 

team of former Soviet states.

There she scooped gold in the gym-

nastics team event but she had to wait 

another 16 years for an individual 

Olympic medal.

That came when she won silver on 

the vault in Beijing in 2008. By then 

Chusovitina was representing Germa-

ny, a country she moved to in 2002 to 

get her son Alisher, born in 1999, suc-

cessfully treated for leukaemia.

Now she is back representing her 

Central Asian homeland of Uzbeki-

stan — a nation of 30 million people 

where she is so revered she has fi gured 

on postage stamps.

“It is too early to make any sort of 

predictions,” Chusovitina added when 

asked about her medal hopes.

Chusovitina admitted that it is 

sometimes tough keeping up with the 

rigors of a sport where she is often 

competing against gymnasts less than 

half her age. “Gymnastics has become 

much more diffi cult, but at the same 

time much more dramatic and beauti-

ful,” she says.

But it appears that her longevity is 

down to constant training and hard 

work rather then any special dietary 


A person “can eat everything in 

moderation,” she said in Tashkent just 

ahead of her departure for a sports 

camp in Germany.

While Chusovitina might be coy 

about her achievements her coach 

Nikolai Pak is much more forthcom-

ing as she gears up to break the record 

for Olympic appearances by a gym-


“She has raised the bar,” Pak told 


“Modern gymnastics is changing 

Gasquet out with back injury

Rio-bound Stosur, Zverev

set aside Zika virus fears

main focus.

“Some sports in the Olympics, 

(tennis) and golf, I feel like maybe 

shouldn’t be in there. It just wasn’t a 

priority of mine at all.”

That’s a stark contrast to 19-year-old 

Zverev, who at 27th in the world has 

become the youngest man to crack the 

top 30 since Djokovic in 2006.

And Zverev has even suffered severe 

illness after a bug bite.

“I was at the US Open and something 

bit me,” Zverev said. “I’m going to be 

very careful because of that. I only won 

one match the rest of the year. My leg 

got a lot swollen. I was really sick with 

fever, lost a lot of weight, couldn’t eat.

“You think about it, that’s quite a 

serious thing. You don’t want to get 

something but the Olympics is a very 

big event. “I’m a little bit worried 

about the Zika virus. A lot of people 

have pulled out. But it’s going to be a 

lot of fun.” Isner has a fi rst-round bye 

and a round-two date with Australian 


qualifi er James Duckworth, who ousted 

American Tim Smyczek 7-5, 6-1.

Aussie John Millman, Rio bound as 

well after Olympic pullouts by Nick 

Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic, advanced 

to a second-round match with Cypriot 

Marcus Bagjdatis by downing Ameri-

can Denis Kudla 7-5, 6-0.

Meanwhile, Frenchman Richard 

Gasquet has pulled out of next month’s 

Rio Olympics because of a back injury 

with Benoit Paire taking his place, the 

French Tennis Federation (FFT) said 

on Monday.

It is the second time the 30-year-old, 

who won doubles bronze with Julien 

Benneteau in London four years ago, 

has pulled out of the Games after he 

also missed Beijing in 2008.

“Injured in the back, Richard Gas-

quet has withdrawn from competing in 

the Olympics. He will be replaced by 

Benoit Paire,” the FFT said in a state-


Gasquet, the world number 14, has 

not played since pulling out of his 

fourth-round encounter with compa-

triot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at Wimbledon 

earlier this month.


In this photograph taken on May 24, 

2016, Pakistani shooter Minhal Sohail 

lines up a shot as she takes part in a 

training session at the Pakistan Navy 

shooting range in Karachi. (AFP)


including the Olympic Park and the 8 bil-

lion reais regeneration of Rio’s port area, 

funded in partnership with developers but 

now stalling.

The development, complete with a 

landscaped central park, fountains, tennis 

courts and swimming pools, was spook-

ily deserted on a recent visit and felt more 

like a fi lm set than a new neighborhood.

The joint venture between developer 

Carvalho Hosken and construction com-

pany Odebrecht says it always planned to 

sell most of the luxury apartments after 

the Games. But Mauricio Cruz Lopes, 

director general for the project, admitted 

sales are well below the target of 1,000 

properties by now.

“When this project was planned there 

was an optimism and growth across all of 

Brazil,” said Cruz Lopes. “Now the situa-

tion is completely different.”

Mayor Eduardo Paes likes to highlight 

that 57 percent of the nearly 40 billion 

reais being spent on the Olympics is pri-

vate money. London’s Olympics by con-

trast was over 80 percent publicly funded.

Rio used public-private partnerships 

(PPPs) to get companies to cover the cost 

of new venues in return for permission to 

build real estate. About 5 million square 

meters of land has been opened to devel-

opers, more than three times that of Lon-

don’s Canary Wharf.

But companies that entered into the 

deals are now struggling and critics say 

the city missed a chance to build afford-

able housing like London did.

Instead, developers accentuated a gap-

ing class divide with luxury property 

on the city’s western periphery. Now, 

with Brazil in its worst recession since 

the 1930s, demand has crashed and Rio 

house prices are down 20 percent in real 

terms over the past year.

The municipal government removed 

thousands of people from their homes, 

some to improve access to the Olympic 

Park, others to clear the way for new tran-

sit routes.

Billions of dollars were spent to build 

bus lines and a subway extension to im-

prove access to Olympic developments 

while laws were changed to increase per-

mitted building heights.



als where you had high-ranked fi ghters, 

including several boxers who’d already 

qualifi ed.

“I don’t feel much pressure because 

these are my fi rst Olympics and so I’m 

going to do my best with a decent chance 

of a medal on the horizon.”

De Jesus: “I came close to a medal in 

London. I hope to get on that podium and 

to sing our national anthem in front of the 

home crowd.”

Araujo: “Bahia is the Cuba of Brazil. 

People from there are born with their hips 

moving. They do that a lot in the dancing 

at Carnival time.”

Chocolate: “Our state lives and 

breathes boxing. Some weekends after 

fi ghts we use the gyms for club training 

and for small, school-age tournaments.”

De Jesus: “Bahia is Brazil’s boxing 

breeding ground. Every Olympics we 

have three or four boxers from Bahia 

qualifying. We’re very serious about get-

ting onto the national team.”

Araujo: “For the women, it doesn’t 

change anything, but for the men, I think 

it’s crazy. The professionals can’t have 

adapted to Olympic boxing in the two 

months (since the decision was made).”

Chocolate: “The pros won’t have any 

advantage. They are used to only getting 

warmed up in about the third or fourth 

round. In amateur boxing you don’t have 

time for that. You get going more quick-

ly. In three rounds it’s over. I don’t think 

a professional will become champion.”

De Jesus: “The professionals won’t 

succeed. It was a bad idea. It would have 

been good only if they’d been given time 

to adapt. For the 2020 Games, they’ll be 

able to get ready, but not with only two 

months to prepare for these Games.”

This is a April 25, 2010, fi le photo 

of Russia’s Liliya Shobukhova as 

she runs in front of her compatriot 

Inga Abitova in central London as 

they compete in the annual London 

Marathon race. (AP)

In this Aug 5, 2012 fi le photo German 

gymnast Oksana Chusovitina 

performs during the artistic 

gymnastics women’s vault fi nal at the 

2012 Summer Olympics. (AP)

rapidly and Oksana is right up there 

with it. She doesn’t stand still, and is 

always developing herself.”

That admiration for an athlete who 

has won the World Championship 

gold for Uzbekistan on the vaults runs 

deep among her younger colleagues as 


Several junior athletes training in 

the Tashkent Gymnastics Palace cited 

Chusovitina as an inspiration.

“She used to coach me sometimes 

and help me out with some things,” 

Elena Rega, an 18-year-old who has 

already represented Uzbekistan, told 


“It is everything about her character, 

her warrior spirit. When she enters the 

gymnastics hall, it lifts your mood.”

Dope cheat Shobukhova ordered to repay London Marathon money

LONDON, July 19, (AFP): Disgraced 

Russian athlete Liliya Shobukhova will 

have to repay organisers of the London 

Marathon almost £400,000 (476,000 

euros, $527,000) a British court or-

dered Tuesday.

The 38-year-old — who is banned 

for life from the London Marathon de-

spite having served her offi cial suspen-

sion of just over three years which was 

reduced by seven months — is obliged 

to return the appearance money she was 

paid for the 2010 and 2011 editions in 

which she won and fi nished second re-


Shobukhova, who also had her 

three wins in the Chicago Marathon 

(2009/10/11) erased from the record 

books, was caught out when in April 

2014 Russian authorities detected ab-

normalities in her biological passport.

Despite the court ruling on Tuesday 

the London Marathon organisers face 

the trickier route now of having the or-

der enforced in Russia. “The next step 

is to get the judgment enforced in Rus-

sia,” said Nick Bitel, chief executive of 

the company London Marathon Events.

“It will be a long and diffi cult  pro-

cess but we will pursue it as we are de-

termined that cheats should not benefi t.

“Any money we get back will be re-

distributed to the athletes that Shobuk-

hova cheated out of their rightful dues.”

Bitel said that marathon runners 

these days faced increasing scrutiny 

and dope testing not only by the sport’s 

world governing body the International 

Association of Athletics Federations 


Rio risks ‘empty’ Oly Games

legacy as real estate stalls

Worst recession in generations pushed luxury apartments out of reach


19, (RTRS): “Pure Island: a 

neighborhood born ready-

made,” reads the glitzy bro-

chure for the 31 tower blocks 

built for $880 million to house 

athletes for the Olympics in 

Rio de Janeiro next month.

After the Games, this is meant to 

become Rio’s newest community, a 

bustling legacy of the 17-day sport-

ing event.

But there’s one thing missing — resi-


Developers say they have sold just 

240 of the 3,600 apartments that go for 

between 750,000 and 3 million reais 

($230,000 to $925,000).

Buyers are returning apartments, a 

sales source said, put off by Brazil’s eco-

nomic crisis and the scant appeal of be-

ing lonely occupants of a space stretching 

more than 100 soccer pitches in a still-

remote region of Rio.

The largest athlete’s village in the his-

tory of the Games is a visceral monument 

to now-faded optimism. Planned when 

Brazil was booming, its harnessing of 

private sector wealth was meant to set the 

gold standard for a sustainable Olympics.

Instead, the worst recession in genera-

tions pushed the luxury apartments out 

of reach. “Pure Island”, or “Ilha Pura” in 

Portuguese, is one of multiple projects, 

Melissa Gonzalez #5 of Team USA goes after the ball against Team India in the second half during a fi eld hockey match 

in preparation for the upcoming Rio Olympics on July 18, in Manheim, Pennsylvania. (AFP)

Pros in Olympic boxing: ‘Crazy’

Brazil aims box up medals

RIO DE JANEIRO, July 19, (AFP): Bra-

zil got one Olympic medal in boxing in 

1968, three at the London 2012 Games 

and now the country’s boxers hope to turn 

home advantage into gold.

To test the mood ahead of the fi rst 

Games to allow professional boxers, 

AFP interviewed three Brazilian team 

members, all from the northeastern state 

of Bahia, which some compare to Latin 

America’s boxing hub Cuba:

■ Adriana Araujo, 34, a lightweight and 

Brazil’s only female medalist (bronze) in 


■ Joedison Teixeira, known as Choco-

late, 22, middleweight.

■ Robenilson de Jesus, 28, bantam-

weight, a quarter-fi nalist in 2012.

Araujo: “No one goes out hoping for a 

bronze or silver medal. We all want to be 

champion. The training is harder than the ac-

tual fi ght. We suffer to become champions.”

Chocolate: “I was the fi rst  Brazilian 

champion in the 2013 World Boxing 

Championships and since then, expecta-

tions have been raised. Last year I won 

bronze at the Pan-American Games and 

at the end of 2015, I won the Olympic tri-

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