IOC boss gives Rio thumbs up for 2016 preparations


RIO DE JANEIRO: Jacques Rogge, the head of the International Olympic Committee, said he saw Rio de Janeiro well on its way to preparing to host the 2016 Olympic Games.

“I’m very happy today because I see the preparations for the Games well underway,” he said as he laid a symbolic first stone at what will become the Olympic Village in the city on Wednesday.

The ceremony gave an official profile to works that are already underway to have the facility ready for the world’s premiere sporting event.

Various VIPs attended, including sporting figures, Brazil’s former FIFA president and former IOC member Joao Havelange, and Rio state governor Sergio Cabral.

Brazil will be the first South American country to host the Olympics.

The Olympics will come close on the heels of the football World Cup Finals, which Brazil will host in 2014.

Rio’s mayor, Eduardo Paes, said: “Bringing the Games to Rio seemed an impossible dream. But today the city is living a special moment, and this is the first of many actions related to the Games. We will make sure the Games are exemplary.”

Organisers showed Rogge a scale model of the Olympic Village, a facility comprising 48 buildings of 12 storeys that will boast a total 2,880 apartments.

It will also have a training area, a plaza, a shopping mall with eateries, a park, and areas for tennis, volleyball and football - and a beach for the exclusive use of the athletes.

Brazilian officials, meanwhile, were readying to unveil the Rio 2016 Olympic logo in a ceremony just before New Year’s Eve’s celebrations on Copacabana beach. – AFP

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