- The Games
- Organising Committee
- Rio de Janeiro
- Take part
Last weekend, Maracanã and Barra Olympic Arena, two sport venues that will rock during the Rio 2016™ Olympic and Paralympic Games, hosted two important sporting events. On Saturday, more than 16 thousand supporters crowded the Arena to watch the Novo Basquete Brasil (NBB – the Brazilian premier professional men's Basketball league) Finals and on Sunday, Maracanã was officially re-opened for a paying audience of 57,280 people.
The Mário Filho Stadium, better known as Maracanã, will host of the Rio 2016™ Opening and Closing Ceremonies, besides the men’s and women’s Football matches and has officially re-opened its doors for the friendly match that ended with a 2-2 draw between Brazil and England. Fred, the Brazilian striker, scored the first goal of the new stadium that was completely renovated in order to host, apart from the Rio 2016™ Games, the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
“It was an important goal, a great honour for me. Maracanã looks great, wonderful, and I’m proud to be part of its history. We were talking, among us footballers, about the player who would score this first goal. I’m glad it happened to be me”, the Fluminense player said. Coincidence or not, another Fluminense player at the time scored Maracanã’s first goal. On 16 June 1950, Didi opened the scoring for the Rio team that faced the São Paulo team, who won this inaugural match 3-1.
Frank Lampard, the captain of the English team, thanked Brazil for the welcome. “In the name of the whole team, I’d like to thank you for the welcome we had here. We are very proud and honoured to have played this first match at the new Maracanã. Since our arrival here, we could feel the magic of Brazil and Rio de Janeiro”, Lampard said before commenting on the iconic stadium.
Roy Hodgson, the English coach, had similar words to say: “It’s a privilege to play at the new Maracanã. Everywhere, we were received with great hospitality and human warmth. This makes us even more determined to ensure a place in the qualifiers and come back next year for the World Cup”.
Inflatable sticks delivered at the stadium entrance had success with fans (Foto: Luiz Guilherme Fernandes)
The friendly match served as a great security test for the city concerning big events. More than 2 thousand Armed Forces professionals gathered for the actions. In the morning, a Bomb Squad visited the dressing rooms and, during the day, Police helicopters flew over the stadium. Firemen and security personnel could be seen everywhere. Even the Army Technology Centre team was present.
All supporters had to go through the metal detector and, for those that did not arrive on foot, the security scheme could count on some state-of-the-art technology. A vehicle scanner owned by the Brazilian Federal Highway Police x-rayed all the vehicles that arrived in the parking lot, including delivery lorries.
The security scheme also had the support of the Brazilian Navy that performed naval patrols and inspections with three ships, 17 motorboats and 427 sailors. The actions took place along the city’s waterfront and Guanabara Bay, close to Rio de Janeiro Port and around Santos Dumont Airport and Rio de Janeiro/Galeão – Antônio Carlos Jobim International Airport.
The Brazilian Army was in charge of supporting, with around 1,100 soldiers, the defence of 12 sites considered strategic for water and electric energy supply as well as for telecommunications. A contingent of 355 servicemen was ready to replace or support Public Safety actions. And 100 Brazilian Air Force members were posted at the Third Regional Air Command as well as Afonsos and Galeão Air Bases.
A tribute to Oscar Schmidt at the Arena
Last Saturday, Barra Olympic Arena, which will host Gymnastics (Artistic, Rhythmic and Trampoline) competitions at the Rio 2016™ Olympic Games as well as Wheelchair Basketball competitions in the Paralympic Games, hosted the Novo Basquete Brasil (NBB) Finals when Flamengo won its third National title when it beat Uberlândia (MG) 77-70 in front of an audience of 16,364 people.
Among the highlights of the match, there was a tribute to Oscar Schmidt, the Brazilian small forward, top scorer in the history of the Olympic Games (1,093 points in total) and the Basketball player with the most presences in Olympic Games (5 editions together with Teófilo Cruz, from Puerto Rico, and Andrew Glaze, from Australia). The former player recently underwent an operation to remove a malignant tumour from his brain and moved everyone with his eternal good humour. “This will be my greatest victory in life”, he said in a recent interview.