Joao Rodrigues: he pays to get to the Olympics

João Rodrigues, the best Portuguese RS:X windsurfer of all time, might not compete at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, in London.

The wind rider and the remaining 14 sailors of the Portuguese Olympic sailing team have suspended their training because the local government has not been funding and supporting the project for London 2012.

"The funding for the Olympic preparation has not been channeled to the sailors, despite the contract established between both parties", says an official statement issued by the Portuguese athletes.

Rodrigues, who is also one of the best RS:X windsurfers in the world, has paid out of his own pocket the support of a coach, in the Skandia Sail for Gold 2011 regatta, in Weymouth. With the exception of João and Rita Gonçalves (Match Racing), all Portuguese sailors competed in this event without a coach.

Portugal may not be represented in the sailing classes, if the National Olympic Committee (COP) and the Secretary of State for Youth and Sports keep halting funds that should be delivered to the athletes.

The Iberian country is currently struggling one of the worst financial crisis of its history, with a national debt representing more than 80% of the GDP, in 2010.