In a bad omen for China’s Olympics dreams, a group of Chinese women fencers were almost robbed on the street in front of Rio de Janeiro’s famous Copacabana beach over the weekend.
They were there to compete in the Rio Fencing Grand Prix and the Team World Championship finals, important test events for the big show this summer.
The team and their coaches were on their way back to their hotel from a seaside supermarket, rolling along a borrowed grocery cart full of bottled water, when they were approached by three to four Brazilian teenagers. One of the teens attempted to take a necklace off the neck of Xu Anqi, one of the top ranked fencers in the world, Shanghai Daily reports.
However, with her lightning fast reflexes she was able to hold on to her necklace. Her teammates soon came to her aid and the (attempted) robbers quickly fled away. They were just lucky that the women didn’t have their sabres on them at the time.
“I came to Rio for several times in recent years because the Grand Prix is held there. I’m familiar with Rio but this time I feel a bit afraid after being robbed,” said Xu.
With an estimated 500,000 tourists and 1,500 athletes expected to descend on Rio this summer, Brazil is set to employ around 86,000 security agents — some 48,000 police and firefighters, bolstered by 38,000 from Brazil’s armed forces — to maintain order, more than twice the number at the London Olympic Games.
An Olympics which China came in second in total medals with 88, including 38 gold medals, with the fencing team providing a not insignificant 3 medals (two gold, one bronze).