By Jack Whibley and Lisa Flueckiger, Contributing Reporters
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Deodoro, a middle class neighborhood of Rio’s Zona Oeste (West Zone) – will become one of the four ‘Olympic Zones’ in 2016 Games to be held in Rio. It is already being touted as the second Olympic Park (in addition to the main Olympic Park in Barra) as many different sports, such as the recently proposed rugby sevens and hockey, will be competing in Deodoro.
Located northwest of the city, the Deodoro neighborhood lies just south of the Avenida Brasil arterial road and to the west of Madureira. The area is a busy suburb, bordering Vila Militar and Vila Eugénia, and is home to Brazil´s largest military barracks, over 60,000 servicemen and women.
Despite being 30 kilometers (18 miles) from Centro, the area is served by the Deodoro train station, which takes passengers to Central Station within fifty minutes, and therefore is popular with commuters and families.
Sport facilities in Deodoro will constitute one of the four Olympic Zones that will host events during the 2016 Olympics. The area was recently the focal point of a meeting between the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee and eight international sports federations last week in Saint Petersburg, Russia, discussed competitions in Deodoro.
One of the disciplines recently announced to take place in Deodoro will be rugby sevens, which is a smaller and faster version of the original rugby. Rugby has not been in the Olympics since 1924 and the Organizing Committee suggests to host it in a temporary 20,000 seat arena together with modern pentathlon.
Joe Lochridge of Rio Rugby Club commented on the plans to host rugby in Deodoro to The Rio Times, “Access to public transport will be important to draw crowds. Deodoro´s proximity to the Tren [overland train] is a plus, but since there is less of an international presence in the outskirts of Rio, initiatives to raise the level of interest in rugby in surrounding areas should be implemented beforehand to attract neighboring Brazilians.”
As well as rugby, it now appears likely that hockey, basketball, equestrian riding, shooting, mountain bike and BMX, whitewater rafting, and modern pentathlon will all take place in the Deodoro Zone.
As the neighborhood has the highest proportion of young people in the whole of Rio, modern and highly active sports such as BMX and whitewater rafting hope to attract the area’s youth to the games.
Whilst the final decision on sports in Deodoro remains to be ratified by the various sports’ international federations, Rio 2016 President Carlos Nuzman stated, “We are very pleased with the significant progress made regarding the Deodoro Olympic Park. Without doubt, Deodoro will be a very vibrant, exciting and atmospheric element of the Rio 2016 Games.”
In terms of building progress, a substantial amount of construction work remains to be carried out in Deodoro. Infrastructure links are being improved by creating a new 23-kilometer long Transolimpica highway, which will connect the Deodoro Zone to the main Olympic Park in Barra da Tijuca.
As commuting time between Barra and Deodoro should decrease by more than one hour with the Transolimpica, living in Deodoro becomes more attractive. Currently (data as of May), a square meter of a rented apartment costs R$15 and to buy a place it’s R$2,568 per square meter (according to ZAP for the Realengo area). Already, rental prices have increased 25 percent since January.