By Nick Butler

Venues at the Deodoro Complex either have to be renovated or constructed from scratch ©Ismar Ingber/CO-RioA long-awaited announcement has finally been made as to which company will take charge of construction and renovation for the northern portion of the second main Rio 2016 venues cluster at Deodoro.

This follows huge criticism over various aspects of preparations for the Games in little more than two years' time, with lack of progress at the Deodoro Complex, where seven Olympic and three Paralympic disciplines will be held, a foremost area of concern.

In April, International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice-president John Coates claimed preparations were the worst he had seen in his long association with the Games, while IOC Executive Director Gilbert Felli singled out the Deodoro Complex for being two years behind schedule.

Rio 2016 and the state authorities in charge of the development have repeatedly played down concerns, insisting work will begin later this year and that "the transformation of Deodoro will be one of the biggest legacies of the Games".

But, confirmation that some rights have now been awarded, will still come as a huge relief, with the consortium Complexo Deodoro, formed by the contractors Queiroz Galvão S/A and OAS S/A, assuming responsibility for the northern region. 

The news must be a relief to Games organisers following the concerns expressed by Gilbert Felli and others ©AFP/Getty ImagesThe news must be a relief to Games organisers following the concerns expressed by Gilbert Felli and others ©AFP/Getty Images

This will include the venues for canoe slalom, hockey, modern pentathlon swimming, mountain biking and BMX cycling, as well as the National Shooting Centre, the rugby and modern pentathlon arena, and the Deodoro Arena where modern pentathlon fencing and basketball qualification will be held. 

The bid was held by Rio City Hall, through the Municipal Olympic Company and RioUrbe, with funding for the project due to come from the Sports Ministry.

In addition to the construction and renovation, the contracts foresee 10 months of operation followed by six months to dismantle the temporary structures and to adapt the existing facilities, once the Games finish in 2016.

The winning tender for the southern region, including the National Equestrian Centre, where cross-country, jumping and dressage disciplines will all be held, is due to be announced over the next few days.

The venue cluster, billed as the second Olympic Park after the main cluster in Barra de Tijuca to the south of Deodoro, consists of venues requiring renovation, for shooting, equestrian and modern pentathlon swimming, as well as temporary venues for mountain biking, modern pentathlon and rugby.

But there will also be four new venues, for BMX, canoe slalom and hockey as well as the Deodoro Arena, and these four will present the sternest examination for Complexo Deodoro.

Construction work on the venues is scheduled to begin in the second half of 2014 and be completed in the first half of 2016, ahead of the start of the Games on August 5.