By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

May 20 - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has today warned Rio de Janeiro that it must not fall behind early in its preparations to host the 2016 Olympic and Paralympics.

The IOC's Coordination Commission, led by Morocco's Nawal El Moutawakel, says the Brazilian city is off to "a good start," after completing their first visit since they were awarded the Games last October but said that they had to keep up a good pace from the start because the scale of the project is so ambitious.

El Moutawakel and the Commission met with key figures of the Rio Games project, including members of the Federal, State and City Governments, Sports Minister Orlando Silva, Governor Sérgio Cabral, and Mayor Eduardo Paes.

The Commission also got a first-hand look at the venues and was provided with detailed information by the Games organisers.

El Moutawakel said: "Rio has made a good start to the project.

"It has laid a solid foundation, but the scope of the Olympic project is immense, and it is important that no time is wasted.

"That is why it’s fantastic to note that all 26 originally planned Olympic sports now have a home and that the venue locations are secured.

"We were also pleased to see that the whole of Brazil continues to be behind the Games, which was underlined to us by the strong support for the Games from all levels of Government."

The Brazilian Government gave a presentation to the Commission on the Olympic Delivery Authority (APO),  the new body tasked with developing and building new venues and infrastructure, and which will facilitate coordination between the three levels of local Government.

The authorities explained the process of the APO’s creation and outlined the roles and responsibilities of the partners involved.

The Commission underlined that it was important for the APO to become operational as quickly as possible because of the great amount of work that still needed to be completed ahead of the Games.

Carlos Nuzman, the President of Rio 2016, said: "We have been working hard over the last seven months, and I am very glad that the Rio 2016 Organising Committee is formed and already operational, working to deliver on our commitments.

"This visit was a great opportunity for us to show the steps we have taken forward in the project and to share the progress of our partners in the Government with the Coordination Commission.

"I am confident that this first visit helped forge a close and truthful relationship for the next six years of work ahead of us."

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