Fear Rio 2016 will not be ready to host test golf event because so far behind in preparations

Wednesday, 26 March 2014
By Nick Butler

Peter Dawson speaking earlier in 2014 ahead of his criticism of the Rio 2016 golf course today ©Getty ImagesMarch 26 - Rio 2016 is unlikely to be ready to host a proposed test event on its new golf course a year before the Olympics, International Golf Federation President Peter Dawson has warned. 

After visiting the site at Reserva de Marapendi on the Barra Cluster in the west of the city, Dawson claimed he is confident the venue will be ready for the Games itself but remains "dissatisfied" with progress. 

"We are not satisfied," he said. 

"I was down there just recently and, while the design of the course looks really good, the progress with the construction is not where we want it to be.

"There have been meetings held last week in Rio to revise the plan, increase manpower and facilities which are designed to bring the project back on track.

"There have been so many revisions to the plan it's quite hard to say how far behind they are but I think we are going to struggle to get a test event a year before the Games.

"I'm not writing that off completely but we have to recognise that might be difficult.

"However, I still think it will be ready in time for the Olympics.

"There are other courses in Rio but there is no Plan B at present because I don't think we'll need one."

The site of the inaugural Olympic golf competition pictured last November is commanding particular attention ©Getty ImagesThe site of the first Olympic golf competition since St Louis 1904 pictured in Rio de Janeiro last November is commanding particular attention ©Getty Images



Dawson, who is also chief executive of the Royal & Ancient, admitted "golf is not on its own here" as he expressed that "Rio have got quite a few challenges ahead of them to get things done in time."

He added: "But we are new to the Olympic Games, maybe this is normal.

"However, I think it's particularly disappointing given how long ago we got in among this and got things started.

"I wouldn't say I'm disturbed at this point but I'd much rather we were further ahead and that is concerning."

There has been concern over several Olympic venues and infrastructure projects in Rio de Janeiro, which were a key focus of the inspection visit paid to the city by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordination Commission last week. 

Although it was repeatedly said that, with Sochi 2014 now over, there is no time to lose for Rio in its preparations, IOC officials also spoke confidently over the progress of various venues, including the golf course and those venues in the Deodoro Complex to the north of Barra. 

Golf, along with rugby sevens in the Olympics and triathlon and canoeing which have been added to the Paralympics, were cited as reasons for the Rio 2016 organisational budget being higher than originally planned when it was revealed earlier this year.

But Rio 2016 officials claimed last week they were confident about preparations, specifically the golf course, which they insisted was now fully under construction and would be ready in time. 

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