IOC Officials Put Eyes on Rio 2016 Venues

(ATR) The IOC takes a look at the Deodoro Olympic Park.

IOC inspectors head to the Deodoro Olympic Park Thursday to see with their own eyes the scale of the task facing Rio 2016 organizers.

The second Olympics hub, site of eight sports and nine events, is viewed as a critical situation by the IOC following delays in launching the construction program.

Nawal El Moutawakel and her IOC delegation spent Wednesday locked in discussions with Rio 2016 leaders, who presented updates on preparations.

One IOC co-com member told ATR that "discussions are good and at the right level of detail."

On Thursday, the IOC experts were up early for a busy day of travel, with the Deodoro Zone and the main Olympic venue cluster in the Barra Zone among the venues on the whistlestop tour.

ATR is told that the visit included an inspection of the golf course currently under construction at Reserva de Marapendi in the Barra zone. Golf is returning to the Olympics for the first time since 1904.

On Friday, the IOC and Rio 2016 will hold a joint news conference to sum up the three-day check-up.

Football Cities Confirmed

Rio 2016 confirmed that Sao Paulo’s Arena Corinthians, Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana, Salvador’s Arena Fonte Nova, Brasilia’s Mane Garrincha and Belo Horizonte’s Mineirao stadium will stage the Olympic football tournament.

All are venues for this summer’s World Cup.

The announcement came at Wednesday’s Rio 2016 briefings to IOC officials.

Spreading the Olympic football tournament across Brazil follows the success of the London 2012 soccer competition, which made use of venues in England, Scotland, and Wales.

Rio 2016 also confirmed to the IOC that the Olympic sailing test events would be held in Rio’s Guanabara Bay in August, with other test events scheduled between July 2015 and May 2016.

New Hockey Format for Rio

The International Hockey Federation announced that the match format for the Olympics will move from two halves to four quarters.

Instead of two 35-minute halves, four 15-minute quarters will be introduced. The model has been tried and implemented by both the Euro Hockey League and Hockey India League.

The FIH said the change "will improve the flow and intensity of the game and increase the fan experience and opportunity for game presentation and analysis."

Other changes include the implementation of 40-second timeouts following both penalty corner awards and the scoring of a goal. Both stoppages ensure that the 60-minute game time is maximized for actual play and not consumed with penalty corner set up or other dead time when the ball is not in play.

The new regulations will be applied to the upcoming FIH events including the Champions Trophy and all continental Olympic qualifying events as of Sept. 1 September as well as the Games.

"The decision today demonstrates our commitment to fan engagement," said FIH president Leandro Negre.

"With the additional breaks, fans will have the opportunity to enjoy more replays and be more engaged with the event, whether in the stadium or watching from a far, while hockey commentators will be allowed more time to provide sport analysis between plays."

He added: "In addition, coaches and players will see improvement in their performance with the additional opportunities to re-hydrate and re-strategize."

Written by Mark Bisson

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