By Georgia Grimond, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Three Aquece Rio Olympic test events have wrapped this past weekend (August 8th and 9th). The triathlon, rowing and equestrian competitions largely passed off without incident giving organizers an idea of where improvements can be made and building anticipation among competitors and supporters for the 2016 Olympic Games.
The triathlon test event, which ran the weekend of August 1st and 2nd at Copacabana Fort, was hailed a success. One hundred and twenty athletes competed in the running, bike-riding and swimming competition, which was also doubled as an Olympic qualifying event. The course was considered sufficiently taxing, with the swimming taking place in the sea rather than a lake or river and the cycling taking in sharp ascents and descents.
World Number One, Javier Gomez (Spain) claimed victory in the men’s event, with Vincent Luis of France coming in second and Richard Murray from South Africa third. The women’s competition was won by American Gwen Jorgenson, and Non Stanford and Vicky Holland, both of the UK, took silver and bronze respectively.
Organizers will now run a similar set up for the Games next year, with a few changes. The size of the platform will increase and they are hoping to bring fans closer to the action, as well as looking at making changes to the barriers in order to leave the area cleaner.
The 2015 World Rowing Junior Championships, started on Lagoa on August 5th. Intended to run until Sunday, August 9th, the final was brought forward to Saturday, August 8th following forecasts of very strong winds. Germany led the leaderboard with five gold, four silver and two bronze medals. Italy and the Netherlands came second and third.
Brazilian riders were buoyed by their performances at the Aquece Rio International Horse Trials at Deodoro. Despite being the only country competing they were impressed with the level of competition between them, the organization and support at the venue.
Marcio Jorge, riding Coronel MCJ came in first, followed by Marcio Appel on Cross Rock and Marcelo Tosi on Glenfly. As host country, Brazil automatically qualifies for the Olympics next year and so its riders have been training hard to improve the teams’ hopes of getting a place on the podium next year.
Many more test events are scheduled in the coming months. Sailing will take place from August 15th to 22nd at Marina de Gloria, Road Cycling at the Copacabana Fort on August 16th and Marathon Swimming, also at Copacabana Fort, will take place on August 22nd and 23rd.
Many of the events are open to the public. For details on how to get tickets and a full calendar, visit the Aquece Rio website.