Olympic panel members visit Rio
Nineteen representatives of ten National Olympic Committees (NOCs) recently visited the sport venues in three of the four zones of the city here, that will host competitions during the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Village and NOC/NPC Relations and Services Director, Mario Cilenti led the organisation of the two-day meeting held on May 6-7.
Before the tour of venues commenced, the group received several presentations at the new headquarters of the Rio 2016 Organising Committees in the Cidade Nova neighbourhood here on Monday morning.
In the afternoon they visited the Barra Zone which contains the Olympic Park and Olympic Village.
On Tuesday morning the group began by visiting the Deodoro Zone in the north of the city, which includes the National Equestrian Centre, the Deodoro Arena, the Modern Pentathlon Park and the National Shooting Centre.
The group also visited the MaracanĂGBP and MaracanĂGBP zinho Stadiums before lunchtime.
In the afternoon, the group visited the Sambodromo, Marina da Gloria and Copacabana Beach, with a final stop at Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon which will host rowing and canoeing events during the Games.
"The presentations focused on the core operational aspects of the Games, such as transportation, accommodation, Olympic Village services, sport competitions and sport venues," said Cilenti, who has been working in the organisation of the Olympic Games since Sydney 2000.
"Except for one, all the visitors were sport professionals. Our focus was to make presentations with a high level of technical information in order to help the NOCs with their planning for the Games."
Director of the Secretariat of the Chinese Olympic Committee, Daishun Wei said that the NOC Open Day was very useful.
"This was an excellent initiative of the Organising Committee. Serious and professional work. I am sure they will stage excellent Games", Wei said. "More than half of the sport disciplines will be concentrated in Barra, which is very good", he added.
Botswana has won only one medal in the history of the Olympic Games.
The medal was won in London 2012, when Nijel Amos finished second in the 800 metres. Tuelo Serufho, General Secretary of the Botswana Olympic Committee, also participated in the NOC Open Day, and said that his country will be aiming to improve its position in the medal table in 2016.
"We only had four athletes competing at London 2012. After the first victory, we became more ambitious. In Rio, we plan to bring around 20 athletes and win five medals", Serufho said.
Athletics, Boxing, Football and Volleyball are the country's most popular sports, but according to him, they have better chances to win in the two individual sports.
Like China's representative, the Botswana delegate was complimentary towards the Organising Committee, the city and the Olympic venues. "I hesitated a few times to come to Rio on holidays, and now I regret it. The city is really beautiful. The beaches are breathtaking", he said, before talking about the Games project.
"I am impressed by the progress in the organisation. The biggest advantage of having the competition held here in Rio is the short distances among the venues; only two or three sport venues are located in other areas", he added.
This was the first visit to Rio de Janeiro for all 19 participants.
Representatives of five European countries (Germany, Austria, Croatia, Slovenia and France), two Asian countries (China and Qatar), two African countries (Botswana and Namibia), in addition to the Brazilian Olympic Committee, took part in this second NOC Open Day.
The first one happened in December 2012, and the third will be held on Nov 5-6, 2013. Two further similar events are scheduled for 2014.
(Posted on 09-05-2013)