Venue in Deodoro Olympic Park will host test event next week and remain as legacy post-Games
The hockey venue for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games was unveiled on Friday (20 November) – and it has a distinctively Brazilian flavour. When combined, the blue pitch, green border, white lines and yellow ball make up the colours of the host nation’s flag.
“This is the best surface that exists for playing hockey, the most modern in the world,” said Claudio Rocha, the coach of Brazil’s men’s team, one of 11 sides already confirmed for the 12-team Olympic tournament next year. “It’s very important for our sport in Brazil to have a facility of this level,” said Brazil’s goalkeeper Thiago Bonfim, who helped the team confirm their place at Rio 2016 by finishing in the top six at this year’s Pan-Am Games.
The Olympic Hockey Centre in Deodoro Olympic Park was presented by the Rio City Government, which has been responsible for its construction using Federal Government funding, ahead of the test event that starts next week.
Teams from seven countries, featuring 144 players, will take part in the Aquece Rio Internatioal Hockey Championship from 24 to 28 November.
The venue has three pitches made of artificial grass – two match pitches of 91.4m x 55m and one warm-up field of 45.7m x 55m. The high contrast of the yellow ball against the blue surface makes it easier for fans to follow the games, both in the stadium and on television.
The venue was built for the 2007 Pan-Am Games and is being adapted to meet Olympic standards. The main pitch will have seats for 8,000 people (2,500 being permanent) while 5,000 temporary seats will be installed alongside the the second field.
After the Games, the hockey venue will host top-level teams, including the national team, as well as social projects. “The structure we have today, with the floodlights and the warm-up pitch, is how it will be after the Games. It will be a legacy for the sport and the city,” said Luciano Elias, the Rio 2016 hockey venue manager.
“Today hockey may not be such a well-known sport in Brazil, but after the Rio 2016 Games, this Olympic Centre can be a turning point for the sport in the country,” said Rio mayor Eduardo Paes.
Hockey will be the fourth test-event at the Deodoro Olympic Park, where the equestrian, BMX and mountain bike tests have already been staged this year.
After the Games, the venues that already existed in Deodoro – the Olympic Shooting Centre, Olympic Equestrian Centre, Olympic Hockey Centre and Deodoro Aquatics Centre (for modern pentathlon) – will remain under the responsibility of the Brazilian Army, along with the new Youth Arena (basketball, modern pentathlon and wheelchair fencing). However, they will not be limited to use by the military, but will also host high-performance Brazilian teams and major competitions.
Go hockey crazy with the Rio 2016 interactive infographic
Photo: Rio 2016/Alexandre Loureiro