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Closure of Rio’s Olympic Park ordered amid security risk

A view from the Olympic Park on May 20, 2017 (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic Park, which hosted a number of events during the Brazilian city’s staging of the Olympic Games in 2016, has been ordered to close due to a lack of security at the site.

The site has fallen into disrepair in the years following the Games and has been used sparingly for concerts and other events.

The Olympic Park (pictured in 2017) comprises an aquatic complex, tennis venues, a cycling velodrome and arenas that were used for sports such as fencing, handball and basketball.

Following a request from the Rio prosecutor’s office, a city judge has ruled that the grounds be closed for the foreseeable future while the necessary safety certificates are secured.

In a decision seen by the AFP news agency, Judge Eugênio Rosa de Araújo said: “This situation, in sites damaged by the lack of surveillance and with thousands of people present, can lead to tragedies.”

The prosecutor’s office claimed that the federal entity set up to manage the Rio 2016 infrastructure was dissolved last summer. Pathways at the site have become overgrown by weeds, while equipment and electric cables have reportedly been stolen.

The federal government told the Reuters news agency that the current safety certificates are valid until March, adding that the judge’s decision to close the Park would be appealed.