BRASILIA: Brazilian officials have attended a customs seminar regarding major international sporting events to aid preparations ahead of hosting the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The three-day seminar was designed to help equip officials to receive approximately 10,500 athletes and supporting officials including technicians, assistants, physical trainers, psychologists, physiotherapists and doctors.
The seminar included several guests who have helped or experienced the demands associated with hosting an Olympic or Paralympic Games.
Mark Bond, Canadian Customs Attaché in Brazil, outlined his experience of Vancouver hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games, while Maxim Niktin, the Russian Embassy’s attache in Brazil, spoke on how her country worked through issues during Sochi 2014.
Additionally, with several thousand tourists and fans expected to land in Brazil during the Games, in addition to professionals such as press and doping control, the customs officials will be required to cope with vast numbers associated with hosting such a large scale event.
Lynne Goodwin, a customs official from the United Kingdom, reflected on how the Heathrow Airport had coped with dealing with its busiest period of London 2012, when a day before the opening ceremony on July 27, when 126,000 arrivals were recorded.
Goodwin revealed the number of customs officials on duty on the day had been increased by 600 people, with the total number of employees processes the large number of passengers totalling 1,105.
Antonio Flavio Araujo, general coordinator of international relations at the Inland Revenue Service (IRS), Ronaldo Medina, advisor to the office of the Undersecretary of Customs and International Relations of the IRS and Joel Benin, the head of the special advisory coordination of major sporting events of the Ministry of Sports, were among the officials at the seminar.
“This is the first event of its kind conducted with foreigners who have lived this experience of organising major sporting events,” said Medina.
“It is certainly the biggest challenge that the customs sector of the IRS ever faced in terms of big events.
“We have held in recent years, the Pan American Games in Rio in 2007, the World Military Games in 2011 and the World Cup last year.
“But nothing compares to the complexity of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
The seminar also tackled logistical issues associated with the arrival of sports equipment required for the Games, with special attention paid to the issue of weapons used by athletes in the shooting or archery events.
As an estimated 20,000 broadcasters are set to arrive to cover the Games discussions also took place on how to handle their equipment, group sessions took place to discuss topics such as luggage orders, imports and admissions, management, communication and international cooperation.