Rio 2016 organisers make ‘big step forward’

The upgrade to Deodoro's facilities is under way, with work on the equestrian centre for the 2016 Olympics starting in August.
The upgrade to Deodoro’s facilities is under way, with work on the equestrian centre for the 2016 Olympics starting in August. © Alex Ferro

Work has started in Deodoro, the venue for the equestrian sports of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Brazil.

Rio organisers have appraised the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Executive Board (EB) of progress in preparations for the Games, with the news that construction of the Olympic Village is advancing quickly, the Barra Olympic Park is taking shape, and the first stone has been laid in Deodoro.

Deodoro is the second-largest of the Olympic venues. Four new sports venues are being created there, and three, including the National Equestrian Centre, are to be renovated. The refurbishment of the equestrian facilities is to start next month.

IOC President Thomas Bach
IOC President Thomas Bach

IOC President Thomas Bach said at the end of the three-day board meeting that there had been “great dynamism in Rio” in the past few months, “in particular from the mayor and governor, who are working closely with the Organising Committee and are clearly taking responsibility.”

Work on key transport initiatives is also under way, with two bus lines already operational and another two on schedule. These improvements are already proving of benefit to locals, and are expected to leave a long-term legacy to the city. The Rio 2016 education programme was highlighted, with 500 Rio schools involved and up to two million children expected to benefit nationwide by 2016.

The first test events for Rio 2016 are to be held next month.

“A big step forward has been made with regard to the organisation of the Games. There is still no time to lose – not a day to lose – but there has been significant progress,” Bach said.

“Now is a time to look forward, to work together and to deliver great Games for Rio, Brazil and for the world, and not to engage in discussion of the past.”

With work well underway on the main Olympic Park, in Barra da Tijuca, preparations for the Games are gaining momentum with just over two years to go until the opening ceremony on August 5, 2016.

• At this week’s meeting, the ICO’s Executive Board also approved the nomination of three candidates who are not IOC members as the IOC representatives on the Board of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). They are: Yvonne Mokgoro of South Africa (former Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa and Chairperson of the South African Law Reform Commission); Wilhelmina Maria Elisabeth Thomassen of the Netherlands (International Expert of the Council of Europe on issues of judicial organisations and Consultant on human rights and the rule of law); and Xue Hanquin of China (a judge at the International Court of Justice). IOC member Dick Pound was also reappointed as a CAS member.

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