The Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB) will reportedly be sending “around 200” athletes to Europe to train between July and December due to the severity of the coronavirus’ impact on the country.
As reported by Inside the Games, the move is part of the COB’s Emergency Programme to Support the Olympic System, which first had actions presented on May 18.
Portugal is the first country confirmed to be hosting Brazilian athletes for training. While plans have yet to be finalized, athletes from various sports are expected to be included.
“The COB understands the unique moment that the whole world is going through, with a direct impact on all segments of society, including sports,” said COB President Paulo Wanderley Teixeira.
“In this sense, we fulfil our role of keeping the Olympic System healthy and of offering our athletes the best training and performance conditions, with maximum security.”
Flights, meals and accommodations for the athletes will be paid for by the COB over the six-month period. The funding comes from the committee’s Olympic Preparation Programme, with R$15 million (just over $3 million USD) allocated.
Brazil is currently the second-most affected country by COVID-19 in the world, with over 719,000 confirmed cases and over 37,000 deaths.
Portugal, on the other hand, has just over 35,000 confirmed cases and 1,400 deaths.
“We have a close relationship with the Portuguese Olympic Committee and we have already started negotiations ahead of Paris 2024,” said COB general director and Olympic judo champion Rogério Sampaio. “With the pandemic, we believe that using Portuguese sports facilities will allow us to offer athletes safe and high-level sites to resume their activities.”
The COB is also in the process of finalizing protocols for a resumption of training in Brazil, with a 200-page document expected to outline the rules for the use and gradual opening of the Brazilian team’s training centre in Rio de Janeiro.
“We seek references from several Olympic Committees in the world, which are already in advanced stages in relation to Brazil in combating the pandemic,” said COB sports director Jorge Bichara. “Our goal is to have a complete reference guide for athletes and institutions.”