RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil: British sailors and 2012 London Olympic Games silver medalists Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark said Thursday (Friday in Manila) they had been robbed at knifepoint after a training session in 2016 host city Rio.
The pair, on a two-week training visit to Brazil, said two men armed with knives approached them as they headed for their hotel, threatened and jostled them, and robbed them of personal items — including some of their training gear.
“Our delightful walk back from the sailing club to the hotel turned fairly nasty when two guys wielding seven-inch (16.5 cm) knives ran at us, pushed us around and grabbed everything we had,” the sailors said in a posting to Facebook.
“Along with the things that were actually worth something, the most annoying thing right now is our lycra we were sailing in got taken… unbelievable!
“Anyway, we made it back to the hotel slightly shaken but all OK.”
Violence plagues many Brazilian cities, although fears that foreign visitors might be widely targeted during this year’s World Cup proved largely unfounded.
Brazil is one of the world’s most violent societies with some 45,000 homicides each year or 24.8 per 100,000 inhabitants, compared with 4.8 per 100,000 in the United States.
Sailors due to compete at the 2016 Rio Games have also faced additional concerns about pollution in the bay due to host competition.
Authorities are scrambling to clean up Guanabara Bay, described by one leading biologist as a “toilet.”
Dead animals, television sets, sofas, shoes and other detritus have all been found in the bay.