Thursday, June 20, 2024

What happened to hockey in Brazil after Rio 2016? ‘We need an Olympic medal to take off’

It was where Team GB women won their historic Olympic title and the first time a Brazilian national hockey team participated in the event. Five years on, JAN WILLEM ZELDENRUST reports on Brazil’s hockey legacy

RIO DE JANEIRO The Deodoro Olympic Park, where the 2016 hockey tournament took place, is desolated these days. 

Due to the Covid pandemic, it has been used sparingly in the last two years. It was created for the Pan-American Games in 2007 and then renovated and improved for the Olympics in 2016. 

Nowadays the two available hockey fields are used by all four hockey clubs in Rio. The Deodoro pitches are not only the only two official fields in the city, but in the whole of Brazil.

Argentina men won Olympic hockey gold for the first time in Rio PIC: KOEN SUYK

“The conservation of the park is not great. The first three years after the Olympics the fields were not used due to financial issues. Someone needed to take up the bills to maintain them”, says Felipe Augusto, the 33-year-old who was part of Brazil’s Olympic hockey team that played in Rio. 

“The air conditioning was taken away, machines to water the field don’t work, lots of infrastructure is missing. But at least we can play hockey there.”

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