IOC official softens Rio 2016 warning

IOC VP John Coates wants to deliver 'great Games' after earlier saying preparations were the 'worst' he had experienced.

    The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vice-President John Coates has reversed his opinion on Rio's preparations for the 2016 Olympic Games, a day after describing the Brazilian city's efforts as the "worst" he had experienced and "worse than Athens".

    Coates gave a blunt warning on Tuesday, saying that the body had become "very concerned" because the Brazilians were "not ready in many, many ways". A day later, the Australia-born Coates issued a statement to "underline" his belief that Rio and Brazil could deliver "great Games".  

    "The IOC, working with our partners in Rio, recently took a number of measures designed to make sure that we can together deliver a great Games, and just as important, a lasting legacy for the people of Rio and Brazil," said Coates.

    Behind schedule

    The official made the critical remarks at an Olympic forum in Sydney, telling delegates that building on some venues had yet to start, infrastructure was behind schedule and water quality remained a concern. The Australian Olympic Committee [AOC] transcribed his comments and posted them to its official website. Coates is head of the AOC and has been involved with three Australian Olympic bids.

    Coates had said on Tuesday that "the IOC has formed a special task force to try to speed up preparations but the situation is critical on the ground".

    Brazil is currently under the spotlight for preparations ahead of this summer's World Cup. The country has been troubled by protests, security issues, delayed stadium construction and worker unrest.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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