IOC President confident ahead of Sochi

Russian President Vladmiri Putin and new IOC President Thomas Bach meet ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

    IOC President confident ahead of Sochi
    The head of Russia Vladimir Putin (L) and the head of the IOC Thomas Bach (R) meet in Sochi [Reuters]

    IOC President Thomas Bach met with Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Monday and voiced confidence that Russia will deliver successful Winter Olympics in Sochi.

    Making his first trip to Sochi since being elected head of the IOC last month, Bach told Putin he was deeply impressed with the amount of work Russia has done to prepare for the February 7-23 games.

    Bach said he expects the games will be held on a 'magnificent level.'

    We will do our best so that all athletes, fans and guests feel themselves comfortable in Sochi regardless of their ethnicity, race or sexual orientation

    Vladimir Putin, Russian President

    The two men opened a new railway station in Sochi that will serve as an important transport hub during the Olympics, linking the Black Sea coastal zone with the Krasnaya Polyana mountain venues.

    Russia is spending more than $50 billion on the Olympics, Putin's pet project.

    Putin said the Olympic construction is largely complete, with only some details remaining to be finalised.

    Preparations for the Olympics have been overshadowed by international criticism of a recently enacted Russian law banning 'gay propaganda' among minors, which many worry may apply to gay athletes and visitors to the games.

    Putin pledged there will be no discrimination.

    "We will do our best so that all athletes, fans and guests feel themselves comfortable in Sochi regardless of their ethnicity, race or sexual orientation," he said at a meeting with the heads of the winter sports federations.

    The IOC has said it received assurances from the Russian government that it will respect the Olympic Charter, which prohibits discrimination of any kind at the games. Gay rights groups have accused the IOC of not doing enough to pressure Russia on the issue.

    SOURCE: AP


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