Exclusive: Rio 2016 considers moving canoe slalom to distant venue

Thursday, 05 September 2013
By David Owen in Buenos Aires

Rio 2016 is considering moving the Olympic canoe slalom competition to the Iguazu FallsSeptember 5 - Rio 2016 is considering moving the Olympic canoe slalom competition to a venue 700 miles away from Rio de Janeiro near the famous Iguazu falls, insidethegames understands.

The motivation for any such switch appears to be primarily about reducing costs and the amount of building work still to be done, at a time of growing concern in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) over the rate of progress of the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic project.

But a decision to use the existing Foz do Iguassu course, which hosted the 2007 Canoe Slalom World Championships, may also be popular with the television companies which provide so much of the Movement's funding, for the possibilities it would open up for scenic shots of one of the world's most spectacular tourist destinations.

At the moment, canoe slalom is slated to be among a number of sports, including equestrian, modern pentathlon and rugby sevens, to be located in the Deodoro zone in the west of Rio.

The Deodoro zone is currently named to host the canoe events at Rio 2016The Deodoro zone is currently named to host the canoe events at Rio 2016

Deodoro was singled out by IOC President Jacques Rogge yesterday when he was asked about Rio 2016's rate of progress in a media conference here, where IOC members are gathering.

Rogge remarked both that there was "a lot of infrastructure where construction ought to accelerate" and "we must not forget that time is passing very quickly".

While the President's public comments were impeccably diplomatic as always, there is a strong sense behind the scenes in the Argentine capital that the IOC is becoming increasingly concerned about the amount of work still to do and that pressure on the Brazilians will ratchet up considerably once the business of electing Rogge's successor is taken care of on September 10.

The Movement will also be mindful, however, that it must strike a delicate balance at a time of what appears to be mounting frustration on the part of hard-pressed Brazilians about their public authorities' spending priorities.

This frustration was most in evidence during mass demonstrations coinciding with Brazil's staging of the Confederations Cup in June.

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