The Venezuelan military will be called in to protect basketball stars at the Olympic qualification tournament in Caracas next month, a spokesman for the FIBA basketball federation told R-Sport on Friday.
Ex-Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko, Denver Nuggets center Timofey Mozgov and Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford are among the current and former NBA stars who will help their countries fight for the last three Olympic places.
As well as “a global security plan”, there are “the additional measures of having several hundred security and armed forces to provide safety for all involved – teams, officials, fans,” FIBA spokesman Simon Wilkinson said.
“The safety of all teams and officials will be provided through the use of security forces specially assigned to them 24 hours a day for the entire duration of the tournament.”
Outside the security bubble around the games, fans should “apply common sense” to stay safe in the Venezuelan capital, Wilkinson said.
Caracas has one of the highest murder rates of any city in the world, fueled by criminal gangs and widespread gun ownership.
Venezuela defeated bids from Lithuania, Macedonia and Angola to host the tournament, which runs from July 2 through 8.
Only three of the 12 participating teams will qualify for London. Russia will play group stage games against the Dominican Republic and South Korea.