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IOC chief sees 'excellent' Rio Olympics despite crisis, pollution

AFP , Wednesday 20 Apr 2016
Thomas Bach
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach lays his hand on the monument of Pierre de Coubertin following a wreath-laying ceremony at the site of ancient Olympia in Greece, April 20, 2016 (Reuters)
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The International Olympic Committee is confident that the upcoming Rio Olympics will be an "excellent games" in spite of concerns about Brazil's ongoing politial crisis, its chairman Thomas Bach said Wednesday.

"The last stretch is always the most difficult one...with the ongoing solidarity of the IOC and the national federations we are very confident that it will be excellent Games," Bach told reporters in ancient Olympia, a day ahead of the ceremony to light the sacred flame for the Rio Games.

"Of course there are challenges, but the organising committee has shown in the last year (what) great progress they made," he said.

Preparations in Rio have been overshadowed by a government crisis, with Brazil President Dilma Rousseff facing impeachment after being accused of juggling government accounts to disguise budget shortfalls during her 2014 reelection.

"The Games are now in the operational phase, therefore we can concentrate now together with the organising committee on the delivery," Bach said.

The German also played down pollution concerns voiced by sailors and swimmers about the rubbish and waste of Rio bay.

"In the bay, about 60 percent of the surface is clean. Without the Olympic Games it would be zero...we are very confident that the competition area will offer safe and fair conditions," Bach said.

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