By Georgia Grimond, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – With less than a year to go until the 2016 Olympics, more warm-up events are scheduled to happen in Rio in the coming weeks. An opportunity for organizers to test venues, logistics and security, the events also give athletes a chance to compete in the city ahead of the games.
Beginning this week, September 15th to 22nd, the Aquece Rio International Archery Challenge will take place at the Sambódromo, the traditional home of Rio’s samba Carnival parades, in the Maracanã Zone.
Run like the competition at the Olympic Games next year, the event includes full individual and team events. Brazil’s archers, as the host nation’s teams, automatically qualify and high hopes are already being pinned on seventeen year-old Marcus D’Almeida.
Now ranked fifteenth in the world, in 2014 he became the youngest athlete to qualify for the Archery World Cup where he went on to win silver. Earlier this year he won bronze in the 2015 Pan American Games.
Speaking in 2014 about competing at the Sambódromo during the Olympics, he said, “I’ve been thinking about Rio 2016 since I joined the national team. I’ve already thought about how the venue will be and imagined competing in the final here, celebrating a gold medal with a big party going on in the stands. Just thinking about the possibility of this gives me goosebumps.”
D’Almeida will compete this week along with Daniel Xavier and Bernardo Oliveira in the recurve men’s team. Sarah Nikitin, Ane Marcelle Dos Santos and Marinca Canetta comprise the women’s squad.
Team gold medal matches will take place over the weekend (September 19th-20th) while individual gold medal competitions will happen at the beginning of next week (September 21st-22nd). The event is closed to spectators.