Caracas, August 23rd 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) - Venezuelan marchers took to the streets of Caracas on Monday to welcome home the athletes who participated in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Brazil.
Venezuela’s team surpassed expectations at the international sporting event, winning one silver medal and two bronze in total. Hundreds of flag waving supporters were waiting to greet the Olympic team as it touched down in Maiquetia International Airport.
“This medal, this victory is for you, for the happiness of Venezuela,” said Bronze-medal winning cyclist Stefany Hernández in a short speech to the jubilant crowd.
Hernández was joined by fellow Bronze medal winner in male boxing, Yoel Finol, and athlete Yulimar Rojas, who made headlines after becoming the country’s first sportswoman to take home a silver medal.
The welcome party accompanied the Olympic team to the Miraflores Presidential Palace where they were greeted by Venezuelan head of state Nicolas Maduro, who awarded all of the Rio 2016 athletes with homes from the government’s Great Housing Mission programme.
The president also publicly announced that his government would increase the monetary value of grants for Venezuela’s budding sportspeople.
“1500 Venezuelan athletes will receive an increase of 50% in their scholarships, to keep supporting them,” he said.
The Chavista government has consistently invested in social programmes for national athletes in a bid to improve the country’s sporting record and to increase the population’s access to sporting activities.
From Miraflores, the president also revealed that preparations for the 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo were already underway, including the approval of more state funds and the pending opening of a National Centre for Science and Technology with the “best trainers in the world”.
“We have to have the best schools in Venezuela, that’s the big objective, to continue with the mass extension of sport,” stated Maduro.
In comments to press, Minister of Youth and Sport Mervin Maldonado also stated that the government hoped to beat its Rio record in 2020.
“This golden generation will keep shining bright, that’s why we assume the challenge of Tokyo 2020 with all of our strength and pride,” he said.
In the 2012 London Olympics, Venezuela took home a gold medal thanks to its national fencing champion Ruben Limardo.