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Earlier in January the Carioca Arena 1 became the first Rio 2016 venue of the year to be unveiled. In August the 16,000-seat arena, the largest in Barra Olympic Park will play host to world stars such as LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Pau Gasol. But its first act was to stage the basketball test event.
Two members of the Brazilian women’s team that won silver at the Atlanta 1996 Games, Janeth Arcain and Hôrtencia Marcari, were on hand to help inaugurate the venue and they predicted that the basketball tournament would be a huge success.
“Brazilian fans always get very involved in live sport and I’m sure they will create an electric atmosphere during the Games,” said Arcain, while Marcari added: “The most important thing is that an arena inspires players, and this place makes me want to return to the court.”
The Arena 1 will also host the wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby during the Paralympic Games, not to mention the test events for the powerlifting and wrestling later this month.
After the Games, the venue will form part of the Olympic Training Centre (OTC), along with Carioca Arena 2, the Olympic Tennis Centre and Rio Olympic Velodrome. The OTC will provide top-level facilities for sports including tennis, wrestling, weightlifting, badminton, fencing, taekwondo, judo and athletics, as well as being made available for the school children and social projects.
An Olympic-standard athletics track and two beach volleyball courts will be added, as well as a dormitory with 166 twin bedrooms for athletes, which will be built from materials used in the nearby International Broadcast Centre. This new post-Games park will also enable Rio to host major international sports events, concerts and exhibitions.