By Duncan Mackay 

Nawal_El_Moutawakel_Rio_June_9_2011June 9 - Rio de Janeiro's preparations for the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics is progressing in the right direction, earning praise from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordination Commission, chaired by Nawal El Moutawakel (pictured), for its marketing programme and the quality of the people working on the project.

The three-day visit of the Coordination Commission concluded with them holding meetings with Government officials, who were commended for the role they are playing in getting Rio ready to become the first city in South America to host the Games. 

"It's been a year since the Coordination Commission last visited Rio and we are pleased with the amount of work that has already been undertaken by the Rio organisers," said El Moutawakel, Morocco's 1984 Olympic 400 metres hurdles champion who is a member of the IOC's ruling Executive Board. 

"They have a solid and experienced team and this has helped to speed things along.

"The strong support from all levels of Government has also played an important role in allowing the progress that we have seen this week to take place, and it will be key to the Games' success in the future."

Besides the marketing programme, which has already generated $648 million (£395 million) from just two giant sponsorship deals, with Bradesco, a Brazilian bank, and a communications consortium of Embratel and Claro, El Moutawakel praised the strong integration across its departments and with its stakeholders.

She also said she was most impressed by the high quality of people that have been hired to work on the project.

Rio's legacy plans also came in for praise from El Moutawakel after the Commission had seeing the opening of a new sport school Santa Teresa sport and plans for an Olympic education programme that will be rolled out across schools in the city.

"The work done regarding the legacy and athletes was very well received," she said.

"The commitment from the athletes became clear in the presentations on the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

"The wish that the Games leave a lasting and positive legacy was obvious."

Nawal_El_Moutawakel_with_Vasco_da_Gama_shirtRio Mayor Eduardo Paes, who presented El Moutawakel and Gilbert Felli, the IOC's Executive Director for the Olympic Games, with shirts from new Brazilian champions Vasco da Gama, promised that they would not become complacent. but that they were pleased with the report.

"Of course there are things we have to pay more attention," he said.

"But there are a number of issues that are now settled with a huge advance."

The positive report was a boost for Carlos Nuzman, the President of Rio 2016 and the architect of the city's successful bid. 

"I would like to acknowledge the partnership that the IOC Coordination Commission has established with us," he said.

"Throughout the last year, the Commission has played a key role assisting Rio 2016, through the seasoned guidance of its members, to fulfil its many responsibilities.

"We believe that this collaboration with the IOC and our periodic meetings are fundamental to the successful organisation of the Games."

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