By Andrew Downie
SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Rio de Janeiro will stage 44 test events over the next 14 months as the country moves up a gear in its preparations to host the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, organizers said on Wednesday.
The schedule includes 34 Olympic test events, six Paralympic events, and four events which will include both Olympic and Paralympic tests, according to a statement from Rio2016.
Over 7,800 athletes will take part in sports as diverse as volleyball, triathlon, rowing and shooting.
"There will be three clusters of events, the first between July and October 2015, focusing on outdoor events. The second, from November 2015 to February 2016, will be more focused on indoor events, while the last, between March and May 2016, will allow preparations to be finalised," the statement said.
Some of the events will be open to the public while others will be staged behind closed doors.
"Test events are a crucial part of the preparations for staging Olympic and Paralympic Games, allowing the organizing committee and its partners – in particular the International Sports Federations and government partners – to test all aspects of venue operations," said Delphine Moulin, Rio 2016 Test Events General Manager.
Rio will become the first South American city to host the Olympics when festivities kick off in August 2016.
(Reporting by Andrew Downie; editing by Justin Palmer)