Paris 2024 has made further changes to the venue plan for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in an effort to reinforce the department of Seine-Saint-Denis at the “heart of the Games”.

A Paris 2024 Executive Board meeting has reorganised the map of competition venues in a move it states will ensure optimal competition conditions for the athletes, budget control, and a legacy for the inhabitants and territories, particularly in Seine-Saint-Denis, one of the poorest departments in France.

Paris 2024 said development difficulties identified at the Terrain des Essences site in La Courneuve have led the project’s stakeholders to move the shooting and Para shooting events. Court Suzanne-Lenglen at Stade Roland-Garros has also been deemed not suitable for the preliminary phase of the boxing and seated volleyball competitions.

The Terrain des Essences will now be proposed as the starting point for the Para marathon and cycling events which will be open to the public during the Paralympic Games. These two events, which Paris 2024 said require lighter temporary infrastructure, confirm La Courneuve as the host community.

It will also be proposed that the preliminary phase of the boxing and modern pentathlon fencing events, as well as the seated volleyball competitions, take place in Seine-Saint-Denis, with studies of potential sites ongoing. Finally, the Para cycling event will run a loop starting and finishing in Clichy-Sous-Bois.

With Clichy-sous-Bois and a new site to come, in addition to those already on the map, Paris 2024 said the whole of Seine-Saint-Denis, which will also host athletics and rugby sevens at the Stade de France, will be showcased during the Games. It said work is also continuing, in conjunction with the relevant stakeholders, to confirm the site for the preliminary basketball events.

This has proven a thorny subject of late, with Paris 2024 unable to reach an agreement with the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) earlier this month on where these games should be played after a plan to stage fixtures in Lille was criticised by the sport’s global governing body.

Paris 2024 is seeking a new venue to host basketball games before the medal rounds after the Arena Paris Sud Hall 6 was deemed unfit to stage the fixtures.

In other news, Paris 2024 has revealed further plans for its vision of staging two of the four opening and closing ceremonies outside of the Stade de France. In December it was announced that Paris 2024 will stage the first-ever Olympic Games opening ceremony outside of a stadium environment with the athletes’ parade to be held along the River Seine.

The Executive Board has now proposed that the Paralympic Games opening ceremony be held at the Place de la Concorde, a stone’s throw from the Champs-Elysées. Paris 2024 said: “This scenario reflects Paris 2024’s strong ambition for the Paralympic Games, and the desire to offer Paralympic athletes a unique showcase and direct contact with their public.

“It would also allow for the sharing of the facilities used at this venue for the Olympic Games for the BMX freestyle, skateboard, breaking and 3×3 basketball events.”

The new proposals and changes will be submitted to the International Federations concerned, the International Olympic Committee, International Paralympic Committee and the Paris 2024 Board of Directors, ahead of a meeting on July 12.

Image: Paris 2024