By Tom Degun

Guadalajara_track_and_field_venue_in_april_2011_24-08-11August 24 - Work on the Guadalajara 2011 Pan American Games athletics stadium has fallen behind schedule with the track and field venue badly affected by years of poor planning, political infighting and now an untimely rainy season, leaving it as a muddy mess with less than two months to go until the event begins on October 14.

Around 42 countries are tu compete in 36 sports at this year's Pan American Games, making it the biggest multi-sport event Mexico has hosted since the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, and while the majority of the venues appear to be on schedule, the track and field stadium is causing major concern as it is still only accessible by dirt trails.

The venue will seat 15,000 during the Games and then go back to a 5,000-seat arena but he $28 million (£17 million/€19 million) project has faced countless delays after construction only began late in 2010.

"There is an enormous amount of work still to do on the stadium," said Hugo Rodriguez, who is the director of infrastructure for the Organising Committee.

"We are pressuring the construction company.

"It is such a big construction job that the 20 per cent that remains amounts to a lot of things."

Environmental regulations, construction difficulties and politicking between the state and local governments have led to delays with seats still yet to be installed and the running track has yet to be laid.

Meanwhile, huge pools of rainwater from the ongoing tropical rainy season have caused further problems.

"Here it rains for only short periods but with a lot of intensity," Rodriguez said.

"It has affected us but they [the builders] have a signed commitment to finish it."

Organisers have also tried to play down the chance of violence during the event as according to official figures, at least 35,000 people have been killed in drug violence in Mexico since late 2006 when President Felipe Calderon launched his crackdown on organised crime.

Guadalajara and the state of Jalisco have been less affected than many cities in the north of the country but state government statistics show there were 700 murders in the first seven months of 2011 in Jalisco, which has a population of just over seven million.

Eighty four per cent of the murders were linked to organised crime, state government studies show.

If headline-grabbing violence does occur in the city - as it did earlier this year - and visitors stay away, it could greatly reduce the $2.7 billion (£1.6 billion/€1.8) economic gain the Pan American Games are expected to bring to Guadalajara.

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