Rio 2016 venue switch for sitting volleyball and judo likely, IPC members told

Sunday, 24 November 2013
By Nick Butler at the Athenaeum Intercontinental Hotel in Athens

Sitting volleyball is set to be moved to Pavilion Six in the Rio Centro cluster for the Rio 2016 Paralympics ©Getty ImagesNovember 24 - Sitting volleyball and judo are set to move venues to resolve logistical concerns ahead of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, it has been revealed.

Agberto Guimarães, executive director of sport and Paralympic integration at Rio 2016, revealed during the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) General Assembly here how venues are set to be "twisted around" to ensure maximum effectiveness.

Due to size constraints, sitting volleyball is set to be moved from the much larger Olympic Hall Three out of the Olympic Park to the nearby Pavilion Six in the Rio Centro cluster, the same hall hosting boxing at the Games.

"We knew from the beginning that we had some challenges with sitting volleyball because it is a big venue which will be used afterwards as the Olympic training centre," Guimarães told insidethegames.

"The stands are too far away for the sport, and what we have to find is a venue where the stands are closer - boxing is a similar sport and architects are producing drawings which will allow us to do this."

Meanwhile, a change in the boccia competition programme means judo is set to be moved out of Olympic Hall One to the neighbouring Hall Two where it is hoped it will fit alongside the wheelchair rugby programme. 

"It is just about twisting things around and I can tell you that before we break for the holiday we will all of these issues solved," Guimarães said.

Venue construction is 20 per cent complete just over 1,000 days ahead of the Games, it was claimed ©Getty ImagesThe moving of venues for several Paralympic sports at Rio 2016 is set to be confirmed over coming weeks ©Getty Images


Guimarães spoke alongside Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic President Carlos Nuzman and Lenny Abbey, head of National Paralympic Committee (NPC) relations and services.

Nuzman admitted it "clear to everyone that Rio faces many challenges to deliver the first Games in our continent", before insisting that "delivering an excellent Paralympics is a top priority for us".

The trio provided reassurance they are working to make transport systems as effective as possible and that they should have soon secured an additional sponsor for the Games.

Although they "have no doubt that venues will be ready in time for the Games", beginning on Brazilian Independence Day - September 7 - in 2016, they said "dates are tight" for them to be ready in time for the proposed test events.

Greater efforts will also be made to improve training programmes, with "a lot of venues to be upgraded" and a suggestion to open the Park for training purposes between the Olympic and Paralympic Games is also being taken on board.

There was, however, praise from IPC members, particularly for the replacement of a synthetic seven-a-side football pitch with a grass one after concerns were raised about injuries on the former surface. 

The case of London 2012 appears perfect inspiration for Rio 2016, and the memories of last summer's Games were revived in an entertaining speech by former head of Paralympic integration Chris Holmes.

Rio would do well to follow in the footsteps of the London 2012 Games ©Getty ImagesRio would do well to follow in the footsteps of the London 2012 Games ©Getty Images


Holmes highlighted a raft of measures which made London a success, while praising the volunteers, as well as the contribution from contractors and the British Army.

He also stressed that showcasing the Paralympics ahead of the Games was the best way to build attention, such as how London 2012 did with the National Paralympic Day in Trafalgar Square in 2011 - where all 20 sports on the programme were demonstrated and a wheelchair tennis contest between British Prime Minister David Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson made global headlines. 

This occurred a day ahead of tickets going on sale and was a major reason for every ticket being sold, he claimed. 

After explaining other measures, including transport preparations and the ensuring of a "transition" from Olympics to Paralympics, Holmes shared one of his abiding sporting memories.

In a nod to the next host, this involved Brazil's Alan Oliveira "storming through" to beat South African Oscar Pistorius in the T44 200 metres to "remind everyone that it will be Rio's turn in 2016".

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