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Paralympic Athlete Welcomed To Rio 2016 With A Gun And A Mugging

Photo: REUTERS/Nacho Doce

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JP Carroll National Security & Foreign Affairs Reporter
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Brazilian muggers stole an Australian Paralympic athlete’s bike Sunday when she didn’t have any cash to give them as she was training ahead of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Aussie Paralympian Liesl Tesch, who is normally in a wheelchair due to incomplete paraplegia from a biking accident, was pushed off her bike by her assailants in Rio de Janeiro. Tesch, 47, is an accomplished sailor and basketball player who has competed in the Paralympic Games since the 1992 Barcelona Paralympic Games.

Tesch told Australia’s Channel Nine that when the gunman and his accomplice approached her, “I think he said ‘dinero.’ I speak some Spanish, so I lifted up my shirt and showed him I had no money,” but unfortunately this did not satisfy the gunman. The 2012 London Paralympics gold medal winner went on to tell Australia’s Seven Network, “he just pushed me on the shoulder with his bare hand and I just fell down on the cobblestones.”

Tesch was so frightened by the “absolutely horrific” crime that as she was being robbed, she, “didn’t say anything because there was a gun.” In the aftermath of the crime, Tesch said the local police station was simply “a turnstile of crime.”

Rio de Janeiro will host the summer Olympic Games in August and the Paralympic Games in September. The governor of Rio de Janeiro (which the city of the same name is located in) announced June 17 that his state’s dire finances will make the state unable to meet, “its commitments to the organization of the Olympic and Paralympic Games,” according to CNN. Rio de Janiero State’s government hopes to get an extra $90 million from the federal government to make sure things run smoothly.

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