By Sarah de Sainte Croix, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Anglophiles in the Cidade Maravilhosa are in for a treat on March 10th, as the British Consulate of Rio de Janeiro is putting on an English GREAT Sports Day at the Aterro do Flamengo, with Prince Harry as the guest of honor. The event will form part of the Prince’s Latin American tour in honor of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Celebration.
The main event will be a short charity run which forms part of the Sport Relief Mile – a UK based fundraising initiative that openly unites people to get active, run a mile and raise money for worthy causes.
The British Consulate in Rio says the run (at under 2 km) will be entirely for fun – no winners, no losers and no pressure – just a good opportunity to get fit and raise some money.
They are expecting all kinds of fancy dress and encourage participants to run, walk, skip, hop or even leap-frog over the finish line. Tayse Pallaoro, from the British Consulate communications team, says, “We are expecting a family atmosphere, lots of kids and parents. It should be really fun.”
Since 2010, UK embassies and consulates worldwide have been organizing their own Sport Relief Mile events, helping to get the whole world on board. In Rio, 1,200 people will be running on March 10th. Worldwide, more than one million people are expected to do the 2012 Sport Relief Mile, according to the British Consulate.
All participants in the run in Rio are asked to raise as much money as possible in support of five Rio based sports and social projects, and the R$50 entrance fee (R$30 for children) will also be donated.
The charity projects include: Luta Pela Paz (Fight for Peace), which uses boxing and martial arts to reach out to young adults living in communities subject to crime and violence; Embaixadores da Alegria (Ambassadors for Fun), the world’s first samba school dedicated exclusively to people with special needs; URECE, which promotes sports for the blind; UECAMP, which develops better employment opportunities for young people from vulnerable backgrounds; and Esporte Seguro: Premier Skills, a British Council project endorsed by the UK’s Premier Football League, which uses soccer to engage disadvantaged young adults.
Rio’s Sports Day will also feature live music, as well volley ball workshops for children from the EUCAMP Vasco community program that runners will be able to watch. Sources in the Rio Rugby Club say that Prince Harry will play a game of Rugby Sevens with the local team.
Places are strictly limited and the invitation-only participation ballot has already taken place. However, there will be plenty of space for spectators to watch the race as it happens. Pallaoro says, “We want to encourage people to come along and watch and we will be distributing British and Brazilian flags. People just need to turn up at 8AM to get a good place.”
The Prince’s tour began at the beginning of the week in Belize where the 27-year-old was acting as the Queen’s official representative. He is due to be in Rio from the March 9th until March 11th as an official ambassador, with the primary goal of enhancing trade between the two countries.