Less than two months after the end of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the Deodoro X-Park, constructed by the City of Rio with funding from the Federal Government, is now vastly being used and fulfilling its two purposes. On September 7, it reopened as a leisure space for the population, while this Sunday saw the first official competitions taking place at the park – the South American and the Pan-American Slalom Championships.
With 500,000 sq. meters, the X-Park – the second largest leisure area of the city, behind Parque do Flamengo – was the stage of the Olympic canoe slalom, mountain bike and BMX competitions. The site benefits 1.5 million people from ten districts and three neighboring municipalities (Nilópolis, Nova Iguaçu, and Mesquita). Professional athletes are also taking advantage of one of the great legacies from the Rio Games to the city. After four days of competitions, which gathered approximately 50 competitors from seven countries, athletes had plenty of great things to say about the canoe slalom circuit.
“The championship was great. I never thought that canoeing would have an infrastructure like this, with such a spectacular circuit. This mixture of leisure and professional competitions of the X-Park is very interesting, because it brings young people closer to the sport. I’m sure that Deodoro will be the birthplace of great athletes in the future,” said Ana Sátila, who represented Brazil in the Rio 2016 Games and won two gold medals this Sunday in the Pan-American for the women’s kayak single (K1) and canoe single (C1).
After a historic result, having finished in 6th in the men’s kayak single (K1) during the Rio Games, Pedro Henrique Gonçalves won the gold in the Pan-American championship for the same discipline. In his view, the Deodoro circuit is “the best in the world.”
“It’s a perfect circuit for training and competing. We have a great legacy from the Olympic Games, which will increase the interest in canoeing. I’m sure we have hidden talents in the communities near the X-Park. With a place like this, a moment of leisure can be the first step towards a sports career.”
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