ST. PETERSBURG: Hockey and rugby will play their Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics competitions at the more remote Deodoro area of the city after organizers boosted the number of sports there to liven up what they say has now become a second Olympic park.
With hockey, initially set to be at the main Olympic park by the sea, forced to move to the Deodoro cluster, organizers said they were also placing Olympic debutants rugby sevens there, as well as some basketball preliminaries.
“For us it is quite important because we now have eight sports and 12 disciplines there,” said Rio Games sports director Agberto Guimaraes. “For the first time there is a second Olympic park.”
Guimaraes said as many as 50,000 people were expected to be within the Deodoro Olympic Park.
“We are much happier because it (Rio organizers) has added new team sports there,” Kelly Fairweather, the CEO of the International Hockey Federation told Reuters.
Federation officials were initially unhappy about a move to Deodoro after having been told they would be in the main Olympic Park.
Fairweather said the addition of rugby and other sports such as BMX and hugely popular basketball added more value to the area.
“We are comfortable with this legacy. It is now a really good place,” he said.
Rugby sevens was not part of Rio’s bid file as it became an Olympic sport only in 2009, along with golf.
Deodoro will also host shooting competitions, modern pentathlon, equestrian, canoe slalom and fencing events.