Olympic flame greeted by embattled Rousseff

Brazilian volleyball player Fabiana Claudino runs the first leg after torch is lit

Fabiana Claudino carries the Olympic torch at Planalto Palace in Brasilia following the flame’s arrival in the country yesterday. Photograph: Evaristo Sa/AFP/Getty Images

Fabiana Claudino carries the Olympic torch at Planalto Palace in Brasilia following the flame’s arrival in the country yesterday. Photograph: Evaristo Sa/AFP/Getty Images

 

The Brazilian torch relay for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics has kicked off with double gold-medal winning volleyball player Fabiana Claudino running the first leg after the torch was lit by embattled president Dilma Rousseff.

Brazil is ready to host the most successful Olympics in history,” Ms Rousseff said in a speech to start the three-month relay around the country.

She is expected to be suspended from office next week as the country’s senate hears an impeachment case, which means vice-president Michel Temer is likely to be president when the games open at the Maracana stadium on August 5th.

The Olympic flame arrived in a lantern on a flight from Switzerland and was taken to the presidential palace.

The relay across Brazil will involve 329 towns and 12,000 torchbearers. Organisers hope it will build enthusiasm for the games, which has lagged as Brazil battles bribery and corruption scandals, its deepest recession in decades and the Zika virus outbreak. Ms Rousseff promised Rio would be ready with completed venues and top security.–(PA)