Rio 2016 judo and wrestling venue declared ready for action

Picture by Rio 2016

Built for Rio 2016 but designed for the Rio de Janeiro of the future, the venue for judo, wrestling and boccia has been officially handed over to the Rio 2016 Organising Committee.

Carioca Arena 2, named after the colloquial name for city locals, was inaugurated on May 14 by Rio de Janeiro mayor Eduardo Paes, who handed the keys to Rio 2016 president, Carlos Nuzman.

The 10,000-capacity stadium will host judo, freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, and Paralympic sport boccia before becoming part of the Olympic Training Centre, a key sporting legacy of the Games. 

Inspired by the mountains that surround Rio, the curvy structure is supported by wooden pillars and has been fitted with rooftop equipment that captures and reflects sunlight into the arena to reduce energy use.

Rio 2016

“When you see an arena like this, everyone involved should be proud and I hope they are,” said Christophe Dubi, the IOC’s Olympic Games Executive Director.

 As well as being sustainable, the 23,000m2 venue is also accessible and has two access ramps and a non-slip floor. Bathrooms have been specially adapted for those who have reduced mobility while the accessible changing rooms have safety buttons and audible and visual signs.

The arena is one of three Carioca arenas, which make up the nine venues at the Olympic Park in the Barra da Tijuca neighbourhood. Carioca 1 will also be transformed into a high-performance sports centre while Carioca 3 will become an Experimental Olympic School for 1,000 pupils.

When you see an arena like this, everyone involved should be proud and I hope they are. Christophe Dubi IOC Olympic Games Executive Director - Christophe Dubi IOC Olympic Games Executive Director

In total, 16 Olympic sports and nine Paralympic sports will take place at the complex in Barra. Only the velodrome remains to be opened.

“We delivered all the arenas on time and on budget,” said Paes. "The Olympics is a Brazilian agenda, it is a commitment of our country. It is a commitment that, undoubtedly, will be fulfilled."

Leonardo Picciani, sports minister, added: “Brazil will have the means to put on not just a great Olympic Games but the best Games so far.”

After Rio 2016, the temporary seating will be taken out and the site will become an elite training centre for weightlifting, judo, wrestling, badminton, fencing, gymnastics and table tennis.

But for Brazilian athletes training for Rio 2016, the delivery of the arena is the final piece of the puzzle in their preparations for the Games later this year.

Sarah Menezes, judo gold medallist in the -48kg category at London 2012, was at the venue’s opening and said: “To see everything ready like this is even more motivation. It’s a sign that it’s nearly here, it’s so close. It’s good to know that everything’s on track, that the structural things are being sorted.”

Wrestler Joice Silva, a gold medallist in the -58kg category at last year’s Pan-American Games, added: “I am already starting to imagine, to visualise my day, how it’s all going to be.“Seeing everything ready makes me calmer, just being able to know where everything will be.”