Olympic medalists take part in Volleyball Grand Prix and Global ChampionsTour

Exactly two months before the city to host the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games is chosen – on 2 October in Copenhagen, Denmark – Rio de Janeiro had a weekend replete with sports competitions. The first stage of the women’s volleyball World Grand Prix attracted more than 30,000 people to the Maracanãzinho sports center over three days with games between the national teams of Brazil, Puerto Rico, Germany and the United States. The Brazilian stage of the Global Champions Tour of jumping attracted some of the world’s best riders, including Olympic champions like Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa. The city also hosted state and national competitions in fencing, rowing and horse racing.

Gold medalists at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and seven times winners of the World Grand Prix, the Brazilian women did not disappoint the fans who filled the Marcanãzinho as they beat all three opponents by three sets to nil. “The supporters were fantastic. It is great playing in the Maracanãzinho,” said libero Fabi, praising the venue which was refurbished for the Rio 2007 Pan American Games and which will host the Olympic volleyball event in the 2016 Games if Rio de Janeiro is chosen as host city on 2nd October.

At the Sociedade Hípica Brasileira (Brazilian Equestrian Society), Italian Gianni Govoni won the Brazilian stage of the Global Champions Tour show jumping. It was the seventh of the nine stages in the 2009 season with representatives from 16 countries taking part. Among them, the Canadian Eric Lamaze, gold medalist in the 2008 Beijing Games, and German Marcus Ehning, member of the winning team at the at Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
Apart from international competitions, the weekend sports in Rio de Janeiro included national events in fencing, rowing and horse racing. Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas hosted an event in the State Rowing Championships. As the planned host of the rowing and canoeing, ‘Lagoa’ is a key location in the Rio Olympic project. Fencing was also highlighted in the City of Rio de Janeiro National Tournament, which attracted around 200 participants in competitions for saber, foil and sword at the Military Club of Laguna.

The most important national horse racing event, the Brazil GP, was held at the Gávea Hippodrome. The race was won by Jeune Turc, ridden by Mark Mazini.

For secretary general of the Rio 2016 Committee, Carlos Roberto Osório, the city once again reaffirmed its vocation to host sporting events. “We had a fantastic weekend, with competitions for fans of various sports. Brazilian and international athletes, including Olympic champions, could experience the heat and passion of Brazilian supporters. Events like these provide further incentive in this, the final straight of the Rio 2016 bid,” said Osório.

FINA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – While Rio de Janeiro experienced intense sporting activity, Brazil also commemorated the achievements of the national delegation, which ended the Fina World Championships in Rome with its best performance in the history of the competition. Four medals (two gold, one silver and one bronze) and 18 swimming finals reached, with one new world record, nine championship records, six Americas records and 33 South American records.

The highlight was Cesar Cielo, who won two gold medals: in the 50m freestyle (with 21.08 seconds, a new championship record and South American record) and the 100m freestyle (with 46.91 seconds, a new world record). New fastest man in the world, Cielo is one of the fans of the Rio de Janeiro bid to host the 2016 Games. “It will be very important for Brazilian sport. The Pan American Games have already shown this, in swimming they stimulated huge interest and growth. So we are all eager to have an edition of the Olympic Games in our country,” said Cielo.

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Saint-Clair Milesi