Rio will be ready for Olympics: Mayor

Rio de Janerio, Aug 6 (IANS) Rio’s 2016 Olympic preparations are running on time and under budget, proving Brazil’s capacity to keep its promises, city mayor Eduardo Paes has said.

Paes was addressing a press conference at the under-construction fencing venue at Barra Olympic Park to mark the start of the one-year countdown to the games, Xinhua reported on Thursday.

“We want to show that we are capable of doing things on time, that Brazil is not a country where everything ends up over budget, everything ends up late,” Paes said on Wednesday adding: “We are literally making a miracle happen here.”

Paes said construction work at Barra Olympic Park – the games’ main venue cluster – was 82 percent complete.

Meanwhile, the Olympic stadium is at 79 percent, the golf course at 98 percent, the athletes’ village at 89 percent and the aquatic stadium at 81 percent, according to organisers.

Despite ongoing concerns about water quality at the sailing, rowing and canoeing venues, Paes said the games had prompted a city-wide transformation.

“I am doing what mayors before me promised but did not deliver,” he said.

“Don’t come here wanting Swiss, Swedish or Danish levels of development, we are not there – but we have advanced a lot in recent years,” he added.

Paes was joined at the press conference by Rio 2016 organising committee president Carlos Nuzman, who fended off questions about water quality amid reports that Guanabara bay remains strewn with rubbish and sewage.

“We have heard from athletes that have swum with fish, so there are some discrepancies,” Nuzman said.

Paes and Nuzman also played down the impact of Brazil’s economic malaise, which has coincided with a sprawling corruption scandal at state-run oil company Petrobras.

“At this moment, when all of Brazil is stopped, the city of Rio is forging ahead,” Paes said, adding: “Rio City Hall has been doing its homework over the past years.”



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