Tuesday

Rio 2016 organizers slammed over Olympic preparations

The International Olympic Committee has raised concerns over Brazil's preparations to host the 2016 Games.
Brazil is waiting to welcome the world for the biggest football tournament on the planet -- but has it taken its eye off the greatest show on earth -- the Olympics?
The South American nation was shamed Tuesday after International Olympic Vice President John Coates claimed Rio de Janeiro's preparations for the 2016 Games was the "worst" he had ever witnessed.
Coates, who has been involved in the Olympics for nearly 40 years, has made six trips to Rio as part of the commission involved in ensuring the Brazilian city is ready to host the Games.
And while the World Cup, which starts on June 12 may take priority, Brazil's ability to juggle two huge events has been called into question.
"It's the worst that I've experienced," he said in a statement ahead of a press conference in Sydney, Australia, where he was being asked about preparations for 2016.
"We have become very concerned. They are not ready in many, many ways.
"We have to make it happen and that is the IOC approach. You can't walk away from this."
Coates revealed Tuesday that the IOC has taken "unprecedented" action by placing experts in the local organizing committee to ensure the Games go ahead.
But in a statement issued Tuesday, the Rio organizing committee insisted the city will host an "excellent Games that will be delivered absolutely within the agreed timelines and budget."

The committee also cited the recent announcement of the budget for both infrastructure and legacy projects, as well as the tender process for Olympic Park venues, as signs of progress.
The statement added: "The time has now passed when general discussions about the progress of preparations contribute to the journey towards the Games.
"The work being undertaken in partnership with the three levels of government -- federal, state and city -- is delivering progress.
"The support of the International Olympic Committee is also crucial. We have a historic mission: to organize the first Olympic and Paralympic Games in Brazil and in South America. We are going to achieve this."
Ongoing concerns have prompted the IOC to agree to increase the frequency of visits -- led by Olympic Games executive director Gilbert Felli -- and establish dedicated task forces.
Rio organizers announced earlier this month that Brazil will spend 24.1 billion reais ($10.8 billion) on infrastructure projects to ensure the Games are delivered on time.
City mayor Eduardo Paes also stated that he was looking forward to Felli's visit saying that there was "no reason for concern" and that the "Olympic Park has nothing delayed."
But Coates says the delays in construction and the lack of information available means the current state in Rio is worse than that seen in Athens in 2004.

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