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Ricardo Brancal and Manuel Ramos compete for Portugal seat in Beijing 2022



Ricardo Brancal and Manuel Ramos compete for Portugal seat in Beijing 2022

Coviglian It is a town of just over 30,000 and is very close to Serra da Estrela, a well-known destination for winter sports among the Portuguese, including alpine skiing. It was in this modality that Portugal debuted at the 1952 Oslo Winter Games with Duarte Espiritu Santo.

Seven decades later, Portugal already has two guaranteed spots for the 2022 Beijing Olympics in alpine skiing, one for each gender. Among women, Vanina Guerillo is going to represent the country. Among the men Ricardo Brancal e Manuel Ramos continue to fight for a place. Both from Covigliana, despite their age difference, have the same background in the sport, which goes back to the ridge near where they were born.

Just over 20 days left Winter tells the story of Manuel and Ricardo in sports and their search for a place in Beijing.

Portuguese Manuel Ramos in action.

Manuel Ramos: “Only my work is in my hands”

“I started skiing in Andorra during a family vacation and regularly skiing with my father at the Serra da Estrela station. It gave me a taste for skiing, ”recalls Manuel Ramos of how he got started and how the place influenced him to keep up. with sports.

This onset was very early, at the age of three. At the age of seven, something curious happened: quite by accident, he took part in a race that also accidentally became the Portuguese championship. It was at the beginning of the year. A few months later, they contacted their father and invited him again to take part in the same competition, since he was the champion of the country. It was then that Manuel realized that he could take sports more seriously. This was the beginning of the Olympic project.

He began to train hard, added podiums and achievements. He gained experience by running three to four races a year outside Portugal. “From an early age, the Olympic Games were the main goal,” recalls Manuel, who remembers watching Sochi 2014. Now 19 years old, he competed in the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics in Lausanne and won 10 national titles. slalom.


He coordinates training and competition with the university. He studies management in Lisbon at ISCTE (Instituto Superior de Ciências do Trabalho e da Empresa). The 2021/2022 season started off well in giant slalom with less than 160 FIS (French Ski Federation) points in five events. Not very good in slalom, but it got better. Overall, he stresses: “I am good at skiing, I manage to put into practice a very stable level of training.”

However, the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the training of many athletes both in the 2020/2021 season and in the current one. In Manuel’s case, he tested positive for the virus shortly after Christmas when he returned from the Montenegrin national championship in Kolasin. “I had to be in Andorra right now to train, but I tested positive for Covid. I had some tests before the deadline (the qualifiers for the Games will be announced on January 16), but now everything is confused, I need to see how everything goes, I’m in quarantine. I need to adapt the calendar, ”he added. Since then, he has no longer competed.

Despite the setback, Manuel knows there is still a lot to be done and, finally, to make his Olympic dream come true. After all, skiing for him is life. He wants to enjoy the sport and contribute to its development in Portugal. He demonstrates maturity, experience and for this he counts on youth in his favor. He knows where he wants to go: “Only my work is in my hands.”

Sooner or later, Manuel depends only on himself and time is on his side.

Ricardo Brancal: “Representing Portugal means everything”

At 25, another Covigliana native, Ricardo Brancal, is a strong candidate for a seat in Beijing. He also began skiing at the age of three with the help of his father while on vacation with his family in the French Pyrenees. He began training every year, sometimes nearby, in Serra da Estrela, or a little further away, in Spain or France. From the age of fifteen or sixteen, he was already part of a local team in the French town of Lamogues. “I was the only Portuguese there and only trained two weeks a year,” he recalls. At the same time, he was also part of another team in the Sierra Nevada, southern Spain. However, he did not regularly participate in trainings and tournaments, which is required by high competition.

The scenario has changed since 2018 when it became part of the Portuguese project for Beijing 2022. Since 2020, he has been a member of the Italian team in Alta Badia (South Tyrol), where he moved last October to train and compete more. Winter Olympics. “I had a brutal evolution. I dropped my scores a lot. I managed to increase my pace before the Games, ”said Ricardo after participating in the national championship of Montenegro shortly before Christmas.

Ricardo has an Olympic record and has managed to maintain it since January 2021. “In a short period of time, I had to demonstrate a great evolution,” reflects Brancal, so that he can stay on the Italian team and in the dispute for a place in Beijing. To get to the Games on January 16, you need to be the best at ranging from Portugal and hit the FIS average in the last five slalom and giant slalom events.

Brankal recently competed in the national championships in Cyprus as well as in Montenegro, and last weekend he was in Turnau, Austria, in a slalom competition for which ranking points were awarded. At the end of the year, he stayed away from his family: “This sacrifice is worth it … it always costs a little, I’ve never spent Christmas without my family, but it’s for the common good. Portugal, “the message says.

Now, when asked about representing the country, he immediately replies, “Representing Portugal means everything.” Ricardo wants to participate in the Games, but not only that, he wants to get the best result in the history of the country, repeating a feat similar to that in February 2021 when he finished among the 40 best on the planet at the Cortina d’Ampezzo (Italy) stage Alpine Skiing World Cup.


Next to him, family and friends are not stingy for support. In addition, he admits that support for Portuguese athletes has grown little by little, and what he wants from it all: “We are a country with little or no snow, but we have athletes. I want to make it clear that any child who wants to participate in the Games can do it, it is not impossible. I didn’t start early at a high level, and if I did, anyone in Portugal can do it too, ”he concludes.

Portuguese Ricardo Brancal from alpine skiing.

Ricardo Brancal is currently the best Portuguese in the alpine skier ranking, ranking 1712th in giant slalom and 3018th in slalom. Manuel Ramos is ranked 2578th in giant slalom and 3309th in slalom.

The list of athletes eligible to compete in the Winter Olympics in alpine skiing will be published on 16 January.

Portuguese for snow and ice

More Portuguese athletes competed in Europe. Diogo Marreiros finished 11th in the mass start of the European speed skating competition held in Heerenveen, the Netherlands. Diogo no longer has a chance to qualify for the Beijing Games.

Still struggling for a spot in Beijing 2022, Christian de Oliveira finished 59th in the Snowboard World Cup Parallel Giant Slalom on Saturday 8th in Scuol, Switzerland. He will have two more competitions – this time in Austria – to make the necessary indicators for qualifying for the Games: on January 11 and 12 in Bad Gastein and on the 14th and 15th of the same month in Simonhöhe.

READ ALSO: Which athletes can represent Brazil and Portugal at the Winter Games.

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Joao Almeida became the champion of Portugal in cycling



Joao Almeida became the champion of Portugal in cycling

This Sunday, Portuguese cyclist João Almeida (UAE-Emirates) became the Portuguese champion in cross-country cycling for the first time, winning the elite national championships held in Mogaduro.

In his first online race since Joao Almeida was forced to pull out of the Vuelta Italia after testing positive for the coronavirus, he won his first national title since becoming time trial champion in 2021.

Almeida crossed the finish line in Mogadora, covering the 167.5 km distance in 4:08.42 hours, 52 seconds behind Thiago Antunes (Efapel) second, Fabio Costa (Glassdrive-Q8-Anicolor) third, and Rui Oliveira (UAE). – Emirates), fourth.

In the end, João Almeida stated that he was “very pleased” with the victory, admitting that the race “went very well” and thanking his teammates.

Former national champion José Neves (W52-FC Porto) did not finish the race, as did Rafael Reis (Glassdrive-Q8-Anicolor) who won the time trial title on Friday.

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Portuguese military admits ‘it will take time’ until territory is taken under control



Portuguese military admits 'it will take time' until territory is taken under control

The “path” chosen for about a year in the fight against rebel groups in the province of Cabo Delgado in northern Mozambique is “the right one,” Brigadier General Nuno Lemos Pires said in an interview with Lusa.

“Now, while the situation is not fully under control, we all understand that, as in any other counter-terrorism situation in the world, it will take a lot of time,” added the head of the European military training mission, although he acknowledged that this “ does not mean that sometimes there are no fears and failures.

However, “this is part of what constitutes an action taken against terrorists who operate in a very wide area, who in themselves have the initiative and the ability to hide in a very wide area,” he said.

In fact, he stressed, many of the recent attacks that have taken place in the south of Cabo Delgado in recent weeks are due to the fact that Islamist extremist rebels had to “flight from the north” of the province.

“Because this was a consolidated military operation carried out in close cooperation between the Mozambique Defense and Security Forces (FSS), [e com as forças d]Rwanda and SAMIM (Southern African Development Community Mission (SADC) in Mozambique), who were clearing out the intervention areas that existed in the area, the reaction of many terrorists was to flee the area, go further south, where they were not pursued. , and make new attacks,” he explained.

“In such cases, the initiative almost always belongs to the terrorists. There are few of them, they hide among the population, they move over very large territories, with a lot of dense vegetation, it becomes very difficult to find them, but you can easily move,” he continued.

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On the other hand, the Portuguese general emphasized, “it is now difficult for these groups” “to concentrate power and forces for large-scale operations, as was the case three years ago during the conquests, such as Mocimboa da Praia or Palma.” ,” he said.

“They don’t have that ability. Many of these attacks even demonstrate [estratégias] survival [clássicas das guerrilhas]. They’re looking for food, they’re looking for supplies, they’re searching deep down for a place where they can survive, because the area is already under quite a lot of control. [por parte] Mozambique FSS, Rwandan forces and SAMIM,” he explained.

In this context, Nuno Lemos Pires highlighted the “quick response” of the Mozambican authorities to each of these developments, starting with head of state Filipe Nyusi.

“I think it is exemplary that the moment there is a movement or a series of significant attacks in other areas, we immediately see the President of Mozambique heading north, linking up with his Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces (CEMGFA). , with the Minister of Defense, with the Minister of the Interior, and outline plans on the ground for a quick change of equipment and the ability to respond to such movements,” he said.

During one such trip to northern Mozambique in mid-June, Mozambican Interior Minister Arsenia Massingue said that Mozambican police were informing the “enemy” – the rebel forces in Cabo Delgado – about the positions of the FDS and allied forces on the ground.

However, Lemos Pires downplayed the situation. “We must be aware that there are infiltrations in any political system. It’s happening everywhere. Ignoring this dimension is tantamount to ignoring what is happening everywhere,” he said.

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“I don’t know of a single case of insurgency, counterinsurgency, terrorist or counter-terrorist combat where these leaks didn’t happen frequently. You need to be careful. .

In addition to the vastness of the territory that has been the scene of conflict and the topography favorable to insurgent guerrilla strategies, the porous borders with Tanzania to the north of Cabo Delgado and Malawi to the northwest also pose a danger. challenges the SDF and allied forces of SAMIM and Rwanda.

Lemos Pires also relativized this question. “We are talking about transnational terrorism, and it is good to understand that the situation in the north of Mozambique, in Cabo Delgado, is not limited and is not limited – and has never been limited – exclusively and exclusively to this region. A phenomenon that exists throughout Africa. , namely in Central Africa,” he said.

The UETM commander even took advantage of this circumstance to formulate an “extended response” to “a broad problem, a regional one, and the solution must also be a broad regional one.”

Therefore, “it’s very good what we see here on the ground, in fact, this is the unification of the efforts of regional African forces to try to deal with a problem that really worries everyone,” he concluded.

“What happens in one region can affect another. That is why it is in everyone’s interest that these groups be fought, detained and that the narrative that they are currently spreading can be counteracted – we hope that there are fewer and fewer successes,” the Portuguese general stressed.


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Lusa/The End

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Sporting confirmed the title of champion of Portugal in futsal and became a two-time champion of the country – Notícias de Coimbra



Sporting confirmed the title of champion of Portugal in futsal and became a two-time champion of the country - Notícias de Coimbra

Today, Sporting CP confirmed the title of Portuguese futsal and became the champion of the country, once again beating Benfica 4:3 in the third game of the play-off final at the Pavilão Joao Rocha stadium in Lisbon.

With this triumph, the Lions add their 17th national title, become two-time champions and achieve something unprecedented in the sport in Portugal, reaching the title by winning every play-off game and completing this feat with three wins in the final against rival Lisbon , winning the first two matches 5-4 and 4-3 respectively.

If in the first two matches the “lions” always started on the losing end, this time the team of Nuno Dias reversed the trend and led through Pauleto (05 minutes), making it 2-0 due to Cavinato (13) and Cardinal (18). ) signed a third before the break.

In the second half, André Sousa (26) moved to Benfica, Ziki (33) turned Léonin’s lead into a 4-1 lead, and Artur scored twice for the Eagles (34 and 39).

Sporting seized the initiative from the very beginning, and after Pani Varela threatened to hit the post, Pauleta really opened the scoring for the Lions with the next move, only having managed to pull over to the side of the road with a well-aimed blow. pole, after help from Eric.

Alvalade’s team were encouraged by the goal, and in the following betting twice he cost Benfica André Sousa, who, thanks to two excellent interventions, avoided Sporting’s second goal.

However, even the “elastic” goalkeeper of the “eagles” could not prevent the score from 2:0 in the 13th minute, when Cavinato appeared “in the face” of the goalkeeper to deflect a free kick from Alex Merlin.

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The “party”, which took over the Joao Rocha pavilion due to the Lions’ two-goal advantage, led to an overabundance in the stands: the fans broke the glass next to the “red” bench, due to which the game was interrupted for several minutes.

Three minutes before the end of the first half, Benfica had a great opportunity to close the gap: Sporting punished Sporting with a free kick for the sixth foul: Arthur missed him in a one-on-one match with Goncalo Portuguese, hitting the post.

The “punishment” for the Luz team was even more severe a minute later when the Cardinal made it 3-0 to the national champions. Pauleta, in an individual move, took all the defense of the “Reds” to the “tug” and filed for a support, which, in front of the helpless Andre Souza, chose a side and struck for the score.

In the second half, despite a greater lead in the match when Benfica appeared to be shaken by a big disadvantage, Sporting saw the opposition close in on the score thanks to a 26th-minute André Souza goal. even touched Merlin before entering the gate in Gitta’s defense.

Shortly after that, Benfica could have re-entered the final discussion, but Arthur, after a combination with Carlos Monteiro, hit the post again, missing the opportunity to make the score 3:2.

Benfica failed, while Sporting responded with a fatality, and Ziki stamped his name on the scorecard in the 33rd minute: first Pani Varela hit the iron, and then the green-white center was faster on reload.

After two iron balls, Artur finally “set” his goal and lowered it to 4-2 in the 34th minute. Toward the last minute, the central “incarnate” made the score 4:3 and left the result open until the end, but Sporting even became the national champion for the seventh time during the “reign” of Nuno Diaz as coach of the team from Alvalade. .

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The game was played at the Joao Rocha Pavilion in Lisbon.

Sporting – Benfica, 4-3.

During the break: 3-0.


1:0, Pauleta, 05 min.

2:0, Cavinato, 13.

3-0, Cardinal, 18.

3-1, André Sousa, 26.

4-1, Ziki, 33.

4-2, Arthur, 34.

4-3, Arthur, 39 years old.


– Sporting: Gitta, Eric Mendonza, Joao Matos, Diego Cavinato and Alex Merlim. Also playing were Tomas Paco, Cardinal, Pauleta, Pani Varela, Esteban Guerrero, Ziki Te and Gonçalo Portugal.

Coach: Nuno Dias.

– Benfica: Andre Souza, Romulo, Robinho, Rocha and Ivan Chishkala. Also played were Afonso Jesus, Artur, Carlos Monteiro, Bruno Sintra, Rafael Henmi, Silvestre Ferreira and Jacaret.

Coach: Pulpis.

Referees: Cristiano Santos (Porto), Ruben Santos (Porto) and Joao Sinval (Braga).

Disciplinary Actions: Yellow card for Robinho (11), Bruno Sintra (12), Cardinal (12), Jacaret (16), Pauleta (29), Romulo (32), Zika (32) and Afonso Jesus (34).

Attendance: about 2000 spectators.

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