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RIO 2016 - Shooting stars from India and Brazil face financial and health difficulties to keep competing
Dom, 07 de Agosto de 2016 23:04

Brazilian-Chinese Felipe Wu conquered a silver on the 10m ai...

(Rio de Janeiro, BR Press) - Shooting has given the first medals at Rio 2016 – and the first one to the host country. Brazilian-Chinese Felipe Wu conquered a silver (10m air pistol category) and saved Brazil from its bad start from judo to Neymar’s football team. Not even Wu’s myopia in both eyes prevented his achievement: it was the third individual medal of the Brazilian shooting in 96 years (the other ones were gained in the Antwerpian Games, in 1920. 

Shooting brings also a hope to India, no matter what lies beneath its athletes – a star-studded 12-member team. It’s the case of Indian shooter Prakash Nanjappa, competing at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games three years after being told by doctors that his career was over. In 2013, he suffered "a type of stroke or paralytic attack" at a world cup event in Granada, Spain, and was diagnosed with a type of paralysis known as Bell's palsy, chiefly on the right side of his face.

"The scariest part was when the doctor said I would have to stop shooting," Nanjappa said. “But that also  motivated me to come back”, the determined athlete opens up. “When it happened I looked at myself in the mirror and something was wrong with my face, it was frightening. It really looked like my shooting career would be over."

Nanjappa recovered in six weeks and, despite continuing to experience some symptoms, he is fit and healthy for Rio.The 40-year-old also suffered wrist pain during the 2013 world cup event in Changwon, Republic of Korea, but still won a bronze medal, which at the time was the best performance by an Indian male shooter.

Lacking financial support

Nanjappa was initially a promising badminton player, before a torn ankle ligament forced him to quit. He took up shooting as a challenge from his father but, lacking financial support, moved to Canada to work for several years. Financial difficulties are also part of Felipe Wu’s life, since shooting is an expensive sport.

Wu can only train and compete because he is currently a Brazilian Army athlete, a sine qua non condition which allows him to have a special permission to carry and buy fire arms – in Brazil, the minimum age to do so is 25 years, even to practice sports, and getting a proper equipment can be a complicated process due to customs authorities huge bureaucracy. 

The Brazilian trains at his parents home seven metres backyard São Paulo, where he also lives, since it would be very hard to move out and make a living with a salary lower then 5.000 Reais (circa US$ 1.570) monthly – an amount including the Army’s pay and a Federal Government grant. “I am honoured to conquer this medal and I do hope it will help shooting to be more professional in Brazil”,  Wu said. 

On Wednesday (August 10th), 9am (Brasilia time), Felipe Wu will compete on the 50m air pistol category along with Prakash Nanjappa. Wu’s ability and shooting aim might be very necessary to Brazil. The Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB - Comitê Olímpico Brasileiro) has  (COB) has set a goal to the country’s team to end up Rio 2016 among the top 10 medallist countries – something that has never happened in the Olympic history. The Brazilian team need to reach much more further then the 17 medals gained in London 2012. 

 

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