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Pinto Urges Brazil To Buy The Right Block

May 5, 2011  - Craig Lord

Alberto Silva, coach to Olympic 50m free champion Cesar Cielo in Brazil, has described as foolish the fact that his country has no Omega ramp starting blocks of the kind that will be used this summer in Shanghai and next summer in London when his charge defends the world and Olympic titles respectively.

In an interview with the Brazilian media, Pinto said that it was not good enough for Cielo to be practising off a block that was similar to the one that will be used on the biggest of occasions. "Its one thing to have a block that's similar … and the one that will actually be used," said Pinto.

At the Maria Lenk Trophy on Rio this week, Brazilian swimmers are testing a national prototype of the starting block but Pinto says that the real thing has a different gradient. "The angle of the ramp (track-start platform at the back of the block) is different. It seems like foolishness, but we are talking about the world record holder … we would like to use the block that will be used at the worlds and the Olympics."

In January this year, Pinto, known as Albertinho in Brazil, lobbied Brazil's Olympic committee and the swim federation to buy a new Omega block of the kind that will be used come the biggest of moments in the sport for use by Cielo and the P.R.O 16 squad that the sprinter formed, with Pinto at the helm as coach. 

Ricardo de Moura, of the federation (CBDA), explained that it was a question of cost, the latest Omega block being "much more expensive" than earlier models. One might be bought before London 2012, he suggested "but not before the worlds".

Cielo will get a chance to try out the new block when he trains at Brazil's London 2012 base, Crystal palace, next month, and races at the Paris Open.