Ensuring the new Athletes' Village for the 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires is ready on time for the event is the main concern for organisers, its chief executive Leandro Larrosa told insidethegames here.
The facility, located near the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club, known as the cathedral of Argentinean tennis which stages an event on the ATP Tour each year, is currently under construction and Larrosa says he will have to “follow up so closely in order to see that the timing is correct”.
According to officials, the Athletes’ Village is within close walking distance of 50 per cent of the venues which will be used during the third edition of the Summer Youth Olympic Games.
Larrosa, who also helped organise the 2013 International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in the Argentinian capital three years ago, where Tokyo was awarded the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, feels the location of the Athletes Village is significant, claiming it will bring social benefits to one of the less-developed areas of the city.
“We have started the building of the Olympic Village in the south area of the city so I think that is the main challenge at the moment,” he said.
“I have to follow up so closely in order to see that the timing is correct.
“We are going to be constructing 30 buildings to develop the village - that is going to be a great infrastructural benefit from the urban point of view because the southern area of the city is the least developed and we need to develop it more.
“We are going to sell it off after the Games so it will also be a financial investment.”
The future of the Youth Olympics Games as a whole remains a hotly contested issue after the IOC discussed the possibility of scrapping the event last year.
Several members are openly hostile about the Games, claiming it is too expensive and drains too much of the IOC’s resources.
It had been suggested that the Youth Olympics, the brainchild of former IOC President Jacques Rogge, may become a cultural festival rather than a sporting event.
IOC President Thomas Bach has dismissed these claims, however, reiterating his view that it should remain a sporting competition during the closing Lillehammer 2016 press conference yesterday.
Larrosa echoed the words of Bach, claiming there is “no doubt” in the future of the event.
He added that it was an “amazing tool for International Federations to try new things”.
The Argentinian also feels elements seen here during the second edition of the Winter Youth Olympic Games should be incorporated into the main Games.
“The Olympic Games needs more of the celebration side of it – we are only highly focused on the sports performance, which obviously is number one, but the second thing is how we put more celebrations and festival into the Olympics,” Larrosa said.
The plan of Buenos Aires 2018 is to stage events in four main clusters in the city.
These would be the water cluster, a series of venues near to the Athletes’ Village and a cluster located in a park in the Palermo neighbourhood of Buenos Aires.
These would complement the sporting facilities near to the Athletes’ Village.
Larrosa revealed that minor changes to where some sports will be held are currently being made and that a full venue and sport plan would be released in the near future.
Buenos Aires 2018 has an operational budget of $142 million (£100 million/€129 million).