Political crisis will not harm Rio Olympics: Rousseff

Rio de Janeiro, April 9 (IANS) Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff inaugurated an Olympic aquatics stadium here, insisting her country would not have any difficulties hosting the event.

“Today, Brazil is facing a climate of bad temper,” Xinhua quoted Rousseff as saying on Friday at the inauguration ceremony.

“I feel this climate is not interesting for the country when it needs to return to political and economic stability,” Rousseff said.

The president called for “dialogue” and “consensus” to solve her country’s current political crisis, referring to the Olympics as “a symbol and an example for Brazil, which shows what people can do when they unite for the good of the Brazilian people.”

“If we are capable of organising the Olympics and the Paralympics, we are also capable of returning our country to growth,” she added.

The president is set for a difficult week ahead of an pending impeachment vote at the lower house of Brazil’s Congress slated on April 17.

If two-thirds of deputies vote for impeachment, the measure would go to the Senate for a further vote.

FIFA announces Olympic football pots

Rio De Janeiro, April 9 (IANS) Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Japan will avoid being drawn in the same group in this year’s Olympic Games football tournament, the sport’s world governing body FIFA said on Friday.

The nations were named in Pot 1 for the 16-team competition, meaning they cannot face each other during the competition’s opening round-robin phase, Xinhua reported.

The pots were allocated based on rankings that considered performances at the past five Olympic tournaments, FIFA said.

The draw will be held at Rio’s Maracana stadium on April 14.

The Olympic football men’s tournament will be played in six Brazilian cities from August 3 to 20.

Men’s competition:

Pot 1: Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Japan

Pot 2: Nigeria, South Korea, Honduras, Iraq

Pot 3: Sweden, Fiji, Portugal, South Africa

Pot 4: Algeria, Colombia, Denmark, Germany

Women’s competition:

Pot 1: Brazil, USA, Germany

Pot 2: France, Australia, Sweden

Pot 3: Canada, China, New Zealand

Pot 4: Colombia, South Africa, Zimbabwe

Rio Olympics to be marked by peace, tolerance: Brazilian president

Rio De Janeiro, April 9 (IANS) This year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will be marked by “peace” and “tolerance towards others”, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said on Friday.

Rousseff made the comments during the official opening of the 15,000-seat Olympic aquatic centre, which will host swimming and water polo during the August 5-21 Games, Xinhua reported.

“We will stage this Olympics in the same way that we staged the [2014] World Cup, with peace and tranquility,” Rousseff said.

“It is very important to guarantee to all the athletes and visitors from all over the world that the Games will be, without any doubt, an event underlined by peace, unity of people and dialogue.”

Rousseff suggested the Olympics could represent that start of a recovery for Brazil’s stricken economy.

“This is a special moment. It is a symbol and an example for Brazil of what is possible when good people work together. If we are capable of hosting the Olympic Games we are also capable of helping our country to grow again,” she said.

Unlike the lead-up to the World Cup, Rio’s Olympic preparations have mostly avoided controversy about venue delays and budget overruns. With just less than four months remaining until the opening ceremony, most sporting facilities are ready.

However, infrastructure projects like a new metro line and a light rail service linking the city centre to the port are yet to be finished. Organisers have also said they will not fulfil a pledge to reduce pollution in Guanabara Bay by 80 percent.

The total cost of staging the Olympics will reach 39.1 billion reais ($11 billion), according to the latest estimate by Brazil’s Olympic Public Authority.

Azarenka named world’s best tennis player in March

Minsk, April 9 (IANS) Victoria Azarenka of Belarus has been named the best tennis player of the world in March, according to the results of the poll conducted by the WTA website.

Seventy percent of the participants voted for Azarenka, with Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova gaining 17 percent of votes and the first rocket of the world American Serena Williams having 13 percent, Xinhua reported.

Azarenka played 12 matches in March, winning all of them. This result allowed the Belarusian to win two titles — in Indian Wells and Miami — to climb to the fifth place in the world ranking.

Other 2016 WTA Player of the Month winners were Angelique Kerber from Germany in January and Carla Suarez Navarro from Spain in February.

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