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Brazil: Rowers give up Olympic dream to help flood victims

Brazilian rowers Evaldo Mathias Becker and Piedro Tuchtenhagen gave up on their Olympic dreams to stay in Rio Grande do Sul, after heavy rains devastated the state.

The athletes, who compete together in the lightweight category, were hoping to take part in the upcoming qualifying phase for the Olympics in Switzerland later this month. The category has been excluded from the 2028 Olympic Games, making Paris 2024 their last chance at the medal.

They have joined other residents and people from across Brazil who have been distributing aid and using boats to save stranded neighbours and pets.

Over the weekend, river levels were on the rise again in the flood-stricken state, causing fresh flooding.

More than half a million people have been displaced from their homes and 147 are confirmed to have died in the floods.

Rescue workers continue to search for people who are missing.

Other Brazilian athletes have also stepped in to help – swimmer Viviane Jungblut, who had already qualified for the Olympic open water race, dropped out to help with rescue operations. World and Olympic surfing champion Italo Ferreira, and the coach of the Brazilian Olympic men’s judo team, Antonio Carlos Kiko Pereira, also joined in to help.

Video produced by Sofia Ferreira Santos

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