COP “surprised” by Luciana Diniz’s return to Brazil demands return of support

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The decision of the rider Luciana Diniz to no longer represent Portugal in Paris2024 to return to do so for Brazil was received with “surprise” by the Portuguese Olympic Committee (COP), which demands the return of the preparation funds paid in the meantime.

“The program contracts with the athletes are perfectly clear. The desistance of the participation in representation of Portugal obliges the restitution of the funds, as long as it happens by their own will. It is completely clear, there has to be the restitution of what was received. There is no way around it. We cannot forgive. If they don’t replace it, the COP will have to do it and that doesn’t seem very reasonable or sensible to me”, stressed, to Lusa, the president José Manuel Constantino.

At stake, according to the leader, are “around 13,000 euros”, divided between support for the athlete, her coach, and the Portuguese Equestrian Federation, “which received money for her preparation.

“All of them have to be replaced. The ones from the federation are relatively simple, we make a settlement of accounts, deducting the transfers from the Olympic preparation. As for the coaches and athletes, they have to be willing to replace them. Otherwise we create a very complicated situation, because we have to justify to the public administration the use of the funds”, he added, adding that “it is not easy” to guarantee this return.

After having competed for Brazil in the show jumping in Athens2004, Luciana Diniz did so for Portugal in London2012 (17th place), Rio2016 (ninth), and Tokyo2020 (10th), and has now announced her resolution to return to wear the colors of the ‘canarinha’.

José Manuel Constantino assumed that he didn’t expect this attitude from Luciana Diniz, guaranteeing that there has never been any problem in the relationship between the entity and the rider.

“It was a surprise. I wasn’t expecting it. When we were confronted with the decision, we were surprised. We asked him if there was any functional reason or complaint regarding Portugal, and he told us no. He said it was a choice that had to do with his desire to finish his career representing the country where he started his Olympic participation. That it was an option that had to do with the desire to finish his career representing the country where he started his Olympic participation. In relation to the federation he didn’t say much more than that”, he clarified.

Still dealing with the astonishment, José Manuel Constantino wonders if this is not an “unprecedented situation”, namely a sportsman “participating in the Olympic Games for one country, then for another, and now returning to his country of origin.

The COP president only finds an explanation in the fact that Luciana Diniz is in herself “a very special case, a person under the behavioral point of view with very distinctive procedures in relation to what are the characteristics of the other high-performance athletes.

“The very relationship with horses and mares reveals these very special characteristics, of a very mystical nature. There is a behavioral trait that is proper (…) that helps to explain this instability of international representation. What can I say? She is nice, very pleasant, she has always treated us well, she recognizes that we have always treated her well. She is sad for having had to take this decision. She understood that this was the most appropriate situation, ending her career representing the country with which she started it,” she concluded.

Lusa tried to get a statement from the athlete and a reaction from the Portuguese Equestrian Federation, but without success.

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