Carioca Arena 2 will also host boccia during Paralympic Games and become multi-sport training centre in legacy mode
“To see everything ready like this is even more motivation. It’s a sign that it’s nearly here, it’s close”. So said Brazil's Olympic judo champion Sarah Menezes on Saturday (14 May) at the inauguration of Carioca Arena 2, which will host her sport along with the freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling events during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. “It’s good to know that everything is on track, that the structural things are being sorted,” added Menezes, who won gold in the -48kg category at the London 2012 Games.
The keys to the new venue, which will also host boccia during the Paralympic Games, were handed over from Rio mayor Eduardo Paes to Rio 2016 President Carlos Nuzman in Barra Olympic Park. Also present was Joice Silva, who won gold in the -58kg freestyle wrestling category at last year's Pan-American Games. “I am already starting to imagine, to visualise my day, how it is all going to be,” she said. “Seeing everything ready makes me calmer, just being able to know where everything will be.”
Maciel Santos, gold medalist in the individual BC2 boccia category at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, was also excited to see where he would be competing in September. “For me the Paralympic Games start from now”, he declared. “You see yourself, the court, the crowd, your relatives, the Brazilian fans. It will be like how we saw in London. I hope the Brazilian public really gets behind this Paralympic sport.”
Nuzman and Paes were joined Christope Dubi, the International Olympic Committee's sports director, and Brazil's new sports minister Leonardo Picciani, on his first official engagement. Dubi was full of praise for the new venue, saying: “When you see an arena like this, everyone (involved) should be proud and I hope they are.”
After the Games, Carioca Arena 2 will become a training facility for weightlifting, wrestling, badminton, fencing, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline gymnastics and table tennis. It will comprise part of the Olympic Training Centre, the main sporting legacy of the Rio 2016 Games.