Reuters International

A sick child greets Pope Francis during the weekly audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican August 3, 2016. REUTERS/Max Rossi

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VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis said on Wednesday he hoped the Olympics games in Rio de Janeiro will spur Brazilians to work for a country that is more just and safe.

Speaking to pilgrims and tourists at his weekly general audience, Francis urged Brazilians to "fight the good fight" for a prize he said was much more precious than a medal.

He said this was "a civilisation in which solidarity reigns and is based on the recognition that we are all members of the same human family, regardless of differences of culture, colour of skin or religion."

"For Brazilians ... I hope this will be an opportunity to overcome difficult moments and commit themselves to working as a team to build a country that is more just and more safe," he said.

Brazil, Latin America's largest country, is plagued by corruption, poverty, a huge gap between the rich and poor, and crime, much of it from drugs gangs in large cities.

He said he hoped that the Olympics would inspire all Brazilians to help improve "a world that thirsts for peace, tolerance and reconciliation."

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

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