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Aussie Paralympic sailor and official robbed in Rio

Scott Heavey/Getty Images

An Australian Paralympic sailor and official have been threatened with a gun and robbed before a race meet in Rio de Janeiro.

Australian Sailing confirmed in a statement that athlete Liesl Tesch and team official Sarah Ross were confronted by two men while riding their bikes in a park near their hotel.

One of the men was carrying a pistol and both Australians were threatened, Australian Sailing saying the pair were "unharmed, but understandably shaken".

The Australians' bikes were the only items stolen and the pair were involved in racing at the Paralympic sailing venue later in the day.

"We were returning from a morning ride when the incident took place, said Tesch in the statement.

"We were close to our hotel when we were confronted by two men, one of whom was armed.

"I was threatened with the pistol and pushed to the ground. He took my bike, and the other perpetrator took Sarah's bike. We are both shaken, but physically were both OK."

Australian Sailing said the incident was reported to the local tourist police who are "offering ongoing assistance to the team and will continue to investigate".

"The safety of our team members is paramount," said Matt Carroll, CEO of Australian Sailing.

"We will continue to work with the Australian Paralympic Committee and Australian Federal Police to ensure our team has an appropriate level of security to ensure their safety in the lead-up to, and during, both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

"In the meantime we will continue to ensure our team currently in Rio has the support they need.

Kate McLoughlin, chef de mission of the Australian Paralympic team, said the advice from the AFP was to "always exercise a high degree of caution while travelling in Rio".

"That advice is particularly important before the Paralympic Games period," she said.

"We know there will be a hugely elevated level of security in place during the Paralympic Games, but for athletes and teams travelling there before the Games, there is a heightened need to be security conscious."

Investigations into the incident are ongoing.

Last month two Spanish sailors and an official were robbed at gunpoint in a popular tourist area of the city as they headed out for breakfast.

In December 2014, two female British Olympic sailors were mugged at knifepoint in Rio as they returned to their hotel from a training session.