Athletics scholarships face cuts as Brazil competes in Tokyo Olympics

Funding for Brazil's renowned Bolsa Atleta program fell 17 percent over the last Olympic cycle, the first budget cut since the program's creation

olympics medals brazil
Judoka Rafaela Silva, gold medal winner in Rio 2016, earned a Bolsa Atleta scholarship. Photo: Marco Galvão/Fotoarena/Folhapress

On Friday morning, Brazilians switched on their television sets to watch the opening ceremony of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, which will run until August 8. The country has high medal hopes, hoping to improve on its all-time record haul in the Rio Olympics in 2016. However, despite this optimism, federal data shows that the government’s flagship athletics scholarship program has suffered significant budget cuts since its inception in 2005.

Funding for the Bolsa Atleta program fell 17 percent during the 2017-2021 Olympic cycle. According to Citizenship Ministry data obtained via the Access to Information Law (LAI),...

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