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Rio 2016 today releases the draft version of its test event calendar, outlining the 45 competitions that will bring some of the world’s top sports stars to Rio de Janeiro before the Olympic and Paralympic Games have even started.
Test events are a crucial part of an organising committee’s work, providing the opportunity to test the competition sites and venue operations, while also giving athletes the chance to compete at the locations where the Games themselves will be held. Nearly 8,400 athletes, including more than 1,200 Paralympic athletes, are expected to compete in the Rio 2016 test events.
The first event, the Aquece Rio International Sailing Regatta 2014, is currently being staged at Marina da Glória, with more than 300 sailors, including 23 Olympic medallists.
The organising committee works closely with the International Sports Federations to define the details of the events, the majority of which will be held in the second half of 2015 and first part of 2016. As well as being an opportunity to test for the Games, they will be top-level competitions in their own right, and some will be ticketed.
Agberto Guimarães, Rio 2016's Executive Director of Sport and Paralympic Integration, said: “Establishing the calendar is an important step as these events will allow us to test all aspects of the competitions and ensure that, come Games time, everything will be in place for the athletes to produce their best performances.”
Delphine Moulin, Rio 2016’s Test Events General Manager, said: “Test events are a vital part of the preparations for staging the Games, providing the opportunity to put all our planning into practice. They also present an invaluable chance to integrate the organising committee’s team with the International and National Sports Federations and government teams, who also have a crucial role to play in the delivery of the Games.”
The Rio 2016 test event programme will include 33 events for Olympic sports, six exclusively Paralympic events and six containing both Olympic and Paralympic competitions. The events organised by Rio 2016 will form the Aquece Rio (‘Warm up Rio’) series, while there will also be events organised by International and National Sports Federations, in which Rio 2016 will test specific operations.
The draft calendar shows which sports will be held at which venues in which months. The timetable is subject to change and specific dates will be released towards the end of this year.
After the current sailing competition finishes on Saturday (9 August), the rest of the test events will take place in three clusters in 2015 and 2016. The first cluster, between July and October 2015, will be predominantly outdoor events, such as rowing, equestrian, road cycling and open water swimming. The idea is to hold them at the same time of year as the Games themselves, to replicate likely climatic conditions.
The second cluster of events will be staged between November 2015 and February 2016, during the southern hemisphere’s summer, and will have a stronger focus on indoor events, such as table tennis, boxing and wheelchair rugby. The final cluster, that will take place between March and May 2016, will include some large events such as Olympic and Paralympic athletics and swimming, that will be an opportunity to test and refine operations with the majority of the Games-time workforce.