Rio 2016 must "stay vigilant" to ensure they remain on track, El Moutawakel warns

Wednesday, 20 February 2013
By Duncan Mackay

IOC Coordination Commission Rio February 20 2013February 20 - Rio 2016 officials have been given another gentle reminder that preparations need to be speeded up as they prepare for the Olympics and Paralympics with time slipping away. 

Nawal El Moutawakel, chair of the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Coordination Commission, was her usual diplomatic self as her team of inspectors today finished its fourth visit to the Brazilian city since they were elected to host the Games in October 2009.

But, it was clear, reading between the lines, that fears remain that Rio can deliver the project without it descending into a scramble in the final few months, as is happening with Brazil's preparations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. 

El Moutawakel praised organisers for the amount of work carried out since the last visit in June 2012, such as on the media villages, the venue masterplan, and the recruitment of staff by the Organising Committee, including a new chief executive, Sidney Levy. 

But the she noted that, in the next three-and-a-half years, both the Olympic Parks - in Deodoro and Barra - and many supporting infrastructures will need to be delivered.

Nawal El Moutawakel Rio February 20 2013IOC Coordination Commission chair Nawal El Moutawakel has warned Rio 2016 that they must remain "vigilant" with only three years until they host the Olympics and Paralympics

"We've seen solid progress this week," said El Moutawakel.

"Building work is ongoing and the Organising Committee continues to strengthen its capacity.

"However, many projects will have to be delivered simultaneously.

"We remain confident but we must all stay vigilant and continue to work hard, so that timelines are respected."

One of the most pressing concerns is that the city will fail to meet its target of providing 27,800 hotel rooms.

"As the Games get closer the deadlines become shorter," said Rio's Mayor Eduardo Paes.

"The concern is with certain places like Barra da Tijuca, where there is still a deficit of 700 hotel rooms.

"We already have 14,300 guaranteed but we are aware of the situation and working towards bridging the gap."

Paes claimed that Rio will have 12,000 new hotel rooms by 2015, as outlined in the city's winning bid to host the Games in 2009.

Nawal El Moutawakel and Carlos Nuzman visit Maracana February 2013Nawal El Moutawakel and Rio 2016 Carlos Nuzman visited the Maracanã Stadium, due to host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, as part of their inspection tour

Gilbert Felli, the IOC's Executive Director of the Olympic Games, was keen to emphasise - publicly at least - that overall the Commission is confident that progress remains on course for a successful Games. 

"There is no delay in projects," he said.

"Nor is there reason to speak of the need to give a yellow card to Brazil in relation to the preparations."

Carlos Nuzman, President of Rio 2016, tried to offer reassurances that he would not allow preparations to slip.

"We are making strong progress in our journey and we are on track to deliver great Games for Rio, Brazil and the world to enjoy," he said.

"We have worked hard to increase integration across the project and the vital engagement and support of the three levels of government is stronger than ever.

"We are grateful for the expert advice and guidance received from the IOC Coordination Commission this week, and the Rio 2016 teams will continue to work relentlessly to deliver solutions for the outstanding issues and to respect the timelines involved in the project."

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