By Duncan Mackay

Essar Gabriel with Carlos Nuzman Rio April 23 2013April 23 - The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) have no concerns that the closure of Estádio Olímpico João Havelange will affect preparations for Rio 2016, general secretary Essar Gabriel claimed today at the end of a visit to the Brazilian city.

The Stadium, which is due to host athletics during Rio 2016 was "closed indefinitely" last month by the city's Mayor Eduardo Paes after he was told that there were safety fears over its roof.

Engineers had warned that the problem is so serious that they cannot predict when they will find a solution for it.

Gabriel claims, however, he has been reassured by Rio 2016 officials after being briefed on the current developments by the President of Rio's Urban Development Company (RioUrbe), Armando Queiroga, who told him a German company were currently preparing to fix the problem. 

"We had heard that the [Olympic] Stadium had been closed, but we are confident from what we heard that things will be back on track and are handled well - that is very important," said Gabriel. 

"There is solution and a focus and a means given for that to be fixed.

"With regards to the preparations, I'm impressed because we see in the new headquarters that there are more than 400 people now at work.

"We have gone through the different functions, from transport and accommodation to competition.

"It's pretty much on track from what I am seeing."

Estádio Olímpico João HavelangeIAAF general secretary Essar Gabriel is confident that the Estádio Olímpico João Havelange will be ready in time for the Rio 2016 Olympics despite currently being closed

Gabriel was welcomed by the Rio 2016 Sports Executive Director Agberto Guimarães, winner of the 800 and 1500 metres gold medals at the 1983 Pan American Games.

He also held a meeting with Jose Candido Muricy, coordinator for the State Government's Project Management Office, who outlined plans for new track and field facility to be built as part of the renovation of the Maracanã, which is due to host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies during the Olympics and Paralympics.

"We understood that as part of a huge regeneration exercise around the Maracanã Stadium, part of the requirements given to private investors was that there must be a new stadium of athletics built," said Gabriel.

"I am sure we will see a beautiful project of a new stadium of athletics and then the athletics federation in Brazil can work hand in hand with the public authorities to look to ensure that this is delivered at the highest standards and used as a legacy for the local people and also as a centre of excellence of athletics in this country."

Carlos Nuzman, President of Rio 2016, claimed that athletics would be guaranteed the perfect stage during the Olympics. 

"We are working very closely with the international federations to organise excellent sporting events and give athletes the perfect conditions to perform at their best," he said.

"The Rio 2016 Olympic Stadium will be a standalone venue for track and field, with no groundshare needed with neither the Opening and Closing Ceremonies nor the football finals.

"We are also ensuring athletics benefits from a positive legacy and we are happy to see that the IAAF recognises our efforts."

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