IOC: Rio has made 'great strides' for 2016 Games
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - The IOC said Rio de Janeiro is making "great strides'' in preparations for the 2016 Olympics but warned of tight deadlines and a considerable increase in the amount of work and responsibilities after the London Games end in a few months.
The IOC coordination commission ended its annual three-day visit on Wednesday, saying Rio officials and local organizers must be prepared to take center stage after Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes receives the Olympic flag in 67 days in London.
"There is large volume of work that needs to be accomplished between now and 2016,'' coordination commission leader Nawal El Moutawakel said. "There is no time to waste. The clock will be ticking on Aug. 12 when your mayor gets the flag. All of the spotlight will be on Rio.
"Rio has made great strides since our last coordination commission visit in June 2011, creating a clear vision of the roles and responsibilities of the different stakeholders involved in the games as well as clearly defining project deadlines. We know that once the previous edition of the games comes to an end, the future organizers need to transition into the implementation phase and Rio will be no exception.''
The IOC commission is confident that there is "sufficient time to deliver what is needed,'' but said Rio officials and local organizers must remain focused.
"It is becoming apparent that the timelines for delivery are already very tight and the amount of work to be completed is considerable,'' Moutawakel said.
The commission said ensuring the sporting venues are ready is the priority now, as well as making sure that all levels of government continue to work closely together to finish the 260 plus projects needed for the games.
The commission said it is crucial the federal, state and municipal government stay on the same page to deliver the games without major glitches.
"The successful delivery of Rio's project will continue to require a very strong level of integration between all the stakeholders,'' she said. "It was a pleasure to have all the different levels of government with us again this week, their continued support is vital to the success of the project.''
Rio 2016 Olympic committee president Carlos Nuzman thinks the integration between the governments has been working so far.
"I remain confident in the integration and unity between the three levels of government, Rio 2016 and other stakeholders, which is crucial for the success of this project,'' he said. "This unity dates back to the time of our bid. We acknowledge all the advice and the constructive feedback we have received from the IOC.''
City officials admitted one of the concerns was with the construction of the Olympic Park and the Deodoro complex, which will include 18 competition venues.
Work on the projects is yet to start, but Paes believes construction will get under way soon and no deadlines would be missed.
"We know we will have to focus more on the sporting venues from now on,'' he said.
Many of the projects are scheduled to begin in 2013 and all of the sports venues must be ready between mid-2015 and early 2016, according to the IOC.
The IOC noted there is still a "large number'' of hotels to be constructed to "fill the gap'' presented at the time of the bid, and said that a working group was set up by local organizers to guarantee that cruise ships will be made available after the construction of a new pier and a port upgrade in the city.
IOC officials and local organizers think a solution will be found for the Olympic golf course in the wake of the land dispute at the area where it is expected to be built.
It was the IOC's third full inspection visit to Rio since the city was picked in 2009 to host the games. The coordination commission will start making two visits per year from 2012.
The coordination commission, which also included IOC executive director Gilbert Felli and more than 15 IOC officials, spent three days in Rio receiving updates from local officials and visiting construction sites, including of the Olympic village. The commission also opened a rapid transit bus line.
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