Rio unveils Olympic venues’ legacy plan

Rio de Janiro, July 30 (IANS) Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic venues will be transformed into public schools, sports facilities and leisure centres under plans unveiled by the local government.

The initiative is part of a pledge to ensure next year’s Games leave lasting benefits for Rio’s inhabitants, according to City Hall secretary Pedro Paulo Teixeira, Xinhua reported on Wednesday.

“Since the start, when Rio de Janeiro won the right to host the Games, our plan was to invest in the legacy that would be left to the city,” Teixeira said in comments published by Rio2016.com.

“The construction projects are simple and efficient, nothing too far-fetched. Our focus is on the Games, but we are also thinking about the future.”

Seven of the nine competition venues at Barra Olympic Park will remain in place after the Games while the structures of two others will be reused to build four schools and two aquatics centers.

Carioca Arena 3, which will host fencing, taekwondo and Paralympic judo, will be converted into an Olympic experimental school combining academic teaching with top-level sports training.

The other six venues will form an Olympic training centre with facilities for tennis, wrestling, weightlifting, badminton, fencing, taekwondo, judo and athletics, among others.

An Olympic-standard athletics track and two beach volleyball courts will be added to the park, in addition to a dormitory for athletes, to be built using materials from the Games’ media centre.

The park will also host major international sports events, concerts and exhibitions.

Deodoro Olympic Park, the Games’ other major venue cluster, will become home to Rio’s second largest public leisure area and continue to offer facilities for elite sport.

X-Park, as the precinct will be known, will serve about 1.5 million people in an area currently lacking recreational facilities, organisers said.

The canoe slalom venue will become a large recreational lake, while the Olympic BMX track will remain intact.

The area will also boast new multi-sport courts, a mini mountain bike track, a beginners BMX track, nature trails, bike paths, a skating rink, outdoor fitness equipment, gardens and barbecue areas.

The Brazilian Army will use the shooting and equestrian centres, the modern pentathlon aquatics venue, the Youth Arena and the Olympic hockey centre.

The facilities will also continue to stage top-level domestic and international competitions.

“We always wanted the Games to encourage the practice of sport in Brazil,” said Marcus Vinicius Freire, executive director of sport of the Brazilian Olympic Committee.

“The social aspect will combine with the high-performance part. This legacy plan is a present for us.”

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