- Title: OLYMPICS-BRAZIL/MEDALS Team Brazil aims for Top 10 in 2016 medal rankings
- Date: 13th March 2015
- Summary: CLOSE-UP OF MONITOR SHOWING GRAPH READINGS
- Embargoed: 28th March 2015 12:00
- Location: Brazil
- Country: Brazil
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVA3PCS3J8QBD9KYNJ012QBQK74K
- Story Text: Adding to Brazil's race to finalize infrastructure and urban regeneration projects ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games, athletes, doctors and sports managers undergo intensive preparations, aiming to launch the nation into the Top Ten in final medal rankings.
The Brazilian Olympic Confederation (BOC) set the ambitious objective of taking Team Brazil from its 17th place ranking in London 2012, to the Top Ten in terms of total medals won when the Games come home.
According to the organization, the aim is achievable given the increase in investment and interest in national sport generated by hosting the Games.
Judo was Brazil's most successful sport in London, winning one gold and three bronze medals. As major contributors to the Top 10 target, therefore, the nation's leading judo athletes are being monitored meticulously.
Bronze medalist Rafael Silva and Olympic newcomer Gabriel de Souza were among a group of athletes who underwent polysomnography tests in Sao Paulo on Monday (March 9) in order to evaluate the quality of their sleep.
Results of a these medical tests - as part of a week-long programme of examinations and intensive training - contribute to ongoing BOC studies used to set and track targets in the Olympic build up.
"I am hoping to improve on my result in the last Olympics. First I have to win my place this year, I am in a good position but this year we will have to dispute our place in the next Olympics. I am hoping to improve on my personal result, also helping Brazil with its objective to reach the Top 10, and to come out as a leading competitor in the sport," said Silva.
BOC Sports Planning Manager Adriana Behar explained to Reuters that the Top Ten objective was developed from scientific analysis of each sport and the results that could realistically be contributed by each confederation.
"Taking into account each of the different sports, those which contribute more and those which contribute a bit less, and those which go to the Olympics just to take part, we created the objective of reaching the Top 10. Top 10 in the Olympics, if we look at previous editions of the Games, is an average of 30 medals - 27, 28 - 30 medals won by the end of the Games. It is important to say that here in the Brazilian Olympic Committee we are looking at the total number of medals, we do not discriminate between the colour of the medals," said Behar at the BOC offices in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday (March 10).
Achieving the proposed seven-place jump in four years calls for a clear strategy to organise each confederation, which Behar is responsible for managing.
She has installed a countdown in the BOC office to the Games' opening on August 5 2016, reflecting her experience as a two-time Olympic Silver medalist, for which she knows that in managing and supporting athletes, every day counts.
The Sports Planning team works with each confederation across various types of projects including competitions, international training camps, improving structure in daily training, discipline and sports science.
It monitors each sport within a hierarchy of four categories defined by a group of agents made up by the confederations, the Ministry of Sport and clubs.
The "vital" sports are those which have a history of bringing international results for Brazil, such as Volley, Beach Volley, Sailing, Athletics and Judo.
The second level involves the "potential" sports, which have shown growth in terms of international results, and where Brazil has had success in World Championships. These include Modern Pentathlon and Boxing.
Next are the "contributing" sports which have seen developing performance capability in semi-finals, but involve few high achieving athletes.
Finally, the Confederation looks after the "participating" sports, which Brazil is beginning to develop.
"Behind each sport we study the greatest possibilities of success, let's say the best scenarios, middle-ground possibilities, and what is less probable, and through these numbers we study each athlete. This is confidential, something which we work on with each of the confederations. We carry out analysis of the future, of course based on studies of the past and present. What we can say at this stage is that Judo, among other sports, will be going into the Games with great expectations," Behar explained.
Among those undergoing intensive training and analysis in Sao Paulo on the week of March 9 was Sarah Menezes, who in 2012 became the first Brazilian woman to achieve gold in the sport.
According to Menezes, the Top Ten objective is a positive stimulus for her and fellow athletes, as they edge close to the 500-day countdown.
"(I think it is) fantastic. We have to think positively, we can't put ourselves down, as we really do have the potential, the capacity. This objective is great, it helps to motivate the athletes to achieve the objective or to even go beyond it," she told Reuters at training on Wednesday (March 11).
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