False alarm: China men’s basketball team deny reports of encountering Rio fatal shooting

A staff member of the team says magazine report is not true as team were travelling in separate coach to journalists; the media bus is the one caught up in gunfire 2km from airport

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 August, 2016, 4:50pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 August, 2016, 11:20pm

The Chinese men’s basketball team has denied reports that its players encountered gunfire while they were en route to the Athletes’ Village from Rio’s international airport.

The Chinese-language Basketball Magazine posted on the mainland’s micro-blogging site Weibo that its journalists and others met the team at the airport late Wednesday night (Brazil time).

Basketball Magazine’s verified Weibo account reported that China’s men’s team coach encountered gunfire (Chinese language link) along the route from the airport to the Athletes’ Village.

Fortunately no one on the coach was hurt. However, it was later reported that six local people were killed in the incident.

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A reporter for Basketball Magazine described how a large number of Chinese reporters and players were making their way to the Olympic Village from the airport.

“The bus was 2km away from Rio airport, when a roadside shoot-out suddenly occurred,” details the post.

The magazine said that six people were killed in the gunfire, but all basketball players and journalists were safe.

But hours after the magazine posted the message, it contacted the basketball team and were told it was a false alarm.

“The coach that the journalists were on encountered gunfire and six locals were killed. But the coach the basketball team was on did not run into the gunfire. It was a false alarm,” a staff member of the team told the magazine.

“Our athletes travelled all the way [to Brazil] from home for the country’s glory. I wish them all the best. I also wish that… the Rio Olympics will go on smoothly. Hopefully these [shootings] would never happen again.”

Chinese netizens have criticised Rio’s hosting of the Games since reports emerged from athletes earlier this week saying accommodation was unfinished and amenities in the Athletes’ Village were not completed.

A Chinese hurdler was vomited on and robbed quickly after arriving in Rio last week.

The Australian chef de mission Kitty Chiller also reported the theft of a laptop earlier this week just a few days after her team were forced to evacuate the Olympic Village because of a fire.

The Australia squad initially refused to move into the Athletes’ Village after suggesting it was unsafe.