'Slow' Brazil on track for 2016 Olympics, says ANOC boss

AFP, Wednesday 5 Nov 2014

The Maracana soccer stadium, left, and the Maracanazinho volleyball venue in Rio de Janeiro are seen in this illustration released by Comite Rio 2016 (Photo: Reuters)

Rio de Janeiro is on track to host a successful 2016 Olympics despite warnings over its preparations and problems during this year's World Cup build-up, a senior Olympic official said Wednesday.

Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, president of the Association of National Olympic Committees, said Brazil could be "slow", but the football World Cup showed it would get there in the end.

"I know the Brazilian culture is like Asian culture. In the end we will have a good Games," the Kuwaiti, also head of the Olympic Council of Asia, told reporters at an ANOC meeting in Bangkok.

"Sometimes we are slow, but in the end you will enjoy the Games."

Public discontent and protests, along with tardy preparations, dogged the run-up to the World Cup. But as a spectacle, the tournament was a resounding success.

"Although we heard a lot of news about protesting, blah blah blah, in the end all the stadiums were full even when it was noon time and very hot," Sheikh Ahmad said.

"This makes us excited. We believe in one city it will be easier for operations than (having it in) many cities. The coordination committee and the (organising committee) president are doing well to solve the problems of accommodation, marketing, all those technical (things)."

He added that concerns remained over security in crime-ridden Brazil, although this would be easier to ensure at an event which takes place in only one city.

In April International Olympic Committee vice president John Coates called Rio's preparations, hit by construction delays, soaring costs and a polluted sailing venue, "the worst that I've experienced".

But he later backtracked by saying he expected Rio to deliver "an excellent Games".

Last month the IOC's coordination commission said work was progressing solidly -- although it warned there was much to do with less than two years before the Games.

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