Rousseff, Lula to boyco Rio opening ceremony
and plan to put all my energy towards coming back strong, healthy and in shape to play attacking tennis in 2017.”
Switzerland’s Olympic association rued the withdrawal of Federer, his country’s flag bearer at both the 2004 and 2008 Games, but chef de mission Ralph Stoeckli sympathised with the tennis star’s decision.
“Nothing is more important for an athlete than their health. We wish Roger Federer a quick recovery and we look forward to following his outstanding career next year,” Stoeckli said in a Swiss Olympic statement. – BRAZIL’S suspended president Dilma Rousseff and her predecessor and leftwing ally Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will boycott the opening ceremony at the Rio Olympics, officials announecd on July 26.
Their absence at the August 5 ceremony highlights the political crisis in Brazil, with Rousseff facing possible removal from office in an impeachment trial shortly after the Games end. Lula, who as president was instrumental in Rio’s winning bid as Olympic host, faces serious corruption allegations.
Rousseff, who was first elected in 2010, is on trial in the Senate on allegations of breaking government budget laws. A judgement vote is scheduled for late August and could see her removed from her post.
The leftist leader says the impeachment process is a coup in disguise mounted by her former vice president, Michel Temer, who has been acting president since Rousseff’s suspension in May. If she is removed, Temer would retain the presidency until 2018.
Temer is expected to preside over the Games as Brazil’s leader.
On July 25, Rousseff said in an interview with French radio RFI that she would refuse to attend the opening ceremony with anything less than presidential status.
“I do not intend to take a secondary role in the Games in Rio,” she said.
Estadao newspaper reported that the invitation to Rousseff is similar to that sent out to several ex-presidents of Brazil, including her predecessor Lula, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Fernando Collor de Mello and Jose Sarney.
While Rousseff faces ejection from office, Lula, who founded the Workers’ Party and served two presidential terms himself, is also struggling against serious corruption allegations related to the vast embezzlement conspiracy at state oil company Petrobras.
When Rio won the Games, it was seen as the icing on the cake of a Lula presidency lauded around the world for using a commoditiesfuelled economic boom to lift millions of people out of severe poverty.
But the political crisis, accompanied by a severe recession, has left Brazil in a dark mood with less than two weeks to go until the Games.
A recent Datafolha poll found that 50 percent of Brazilians oppose hosting the Olympics, with 63pc predicting that the event will bring more bad than good. –
Roger Federer was disappointed by his loss in the Wimbledon semifinal against Milos Raonic of Canada, 6-3, 6-73, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 on July 8.