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Rio 2016: Olympic wrestling venue ready

The keys for the Carioca Arena 2 -- the venue for freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling and judo for the Summer Olympics -- were handed over from Rio de Janeiro mayor Eduardo Paes to Rio 2016 President Carlos Nuzman in Barra Olympic Park on Saturday, the official Rio 2016 website reported.

Olympic wrestling will take place in Carioca Arena 2
Also at the ceremony was Christope Dubi, the International Olympic Committee's sports director, and Brazil's new sports minister Leonardo Picciani, on his first official engagement. The IOC's Dubi praised the new venue, saying: "When you see an arena like this, everyone (involved) should be proud and I hope they are."

Some Olympic athletes also at the inaugural weighed in with their opinions on the 10,000-seat arena.

"To see everything ready like this is even more motivation. It's a sign that it's nearly here, it's close," according to Sarah Menezes, who won the gold medal for Brazil at 48 kilograms at the 2012 London Olympics. "It's good to know that everything is on track, that the structural things are being sorted."

Immediately after the conclusion of wrestling competition at the 2016 Olympics August 14-21, Carioca Arena 2 will be the home venue for boccia -- a precision ball sport, much like bocce ball -- at the 2016 Paralympics. Maciel Santos, gold medalist in the individual BC2 boccia category at the London 2012 Paralympic Games was eager to see where he'd be competing in September.

"For me the Paralympic Games start from now," Santos said. "You see yourself, the court, the crowd, your relatives, the Brazilian fans. It will be like how we saw in London. I hope the Brazilian public really gets behind this Paralympic sport."

After the Games, Carioca Arena 2 will become a training facility for weightlifting, wrestling, badminton, fencing, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline gymnastics and table tennis. It will comprise part of the Olympic Training Centre, an enduring legacy of the 2016 Rio Games.

Want to know more about the challenges facing organizers, participants and fans at the 2016 Olympics? Check out InterMat's April 2016 feature "Is Rio ready for wrestlers?"

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