Host Brazil set to face disappointing medal count

With just four medals in the first week of the Games, Brazilian athletes will need to perform better to fulfill that objective

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Host Brazil is likely to miss its medal target after losses in judo, almost certainly a first Olympics without a swimming medal since 2004 and dashed hopes in tennis and archery.

After registering a record number of podiums at London 2012 with 17 medals, Team Brazil set a goal for Rio of finishing in the top 10 medal winning nations.

But with just four medals in the first week of the Games --one gold, one silver and two bronze -- Brazilian athletes will need to perform better to fulfill that objective. Italy finished 10th in the total 2012 medal count by taking home 28.

Brazil’s greatest frustration was in judo. Despite a gold for Rafaela Silva, it did not surpass its performance of four medals in London, earning only three.

Sarah Menezes, the 2012 champion, as well as Erica Miranda, Tiago Camilo and Felipe Kitadai were all judo disappointments.

“We could have contributed with more medals, we had this potential,” said Ney Wilson, an official at Brazil’s Judo Confederation.

Brazil had lower expectations for swimming, especially after former Olympic champion Cesar Cielo failed to qualify, but no one thought its swimmers would leave the pool empty handed.

The top hopes were Thiago Pereira, silver medalist in the 400 meters’ medley in London, and Bruno Fratus but neither set a personal best in their divisions and finished without medals.

Brazil, which has won swimming medals at every Games since Athens in 2004, still has two more races left but does not expect to medal in either.

Aside from sports in which it traditionally excels, Brazil also had goals of medaling in canoeing, tennis and archery but has so far failed.

All the Brazilian tennis players, including doubles favorites Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares, were eliminated. So was 18-year-old archer Marcus D’Almeida.

Brazil’s first medal was actually a surprise, a silver won by shooter Felipe Wu. Brazil still has medal hopes in men’s water polo and marathon swimming.

Despite a humiliating loss in double overtime to arch rival Argentina in basketball on Saturday, Brazil is still in contention for several team sports, like beach and regular volleyball, handball and soccer. It is also guaranteed at least a bronze in boxing and has high hopes in sailing.

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