Rio put under pressure to fix Olympic issues

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Organisers of next year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro face serious challenges over cleaning up the bay where the sailing competitions will be held, the IOC president Thomas Bach has admitted.

Sailors in Guanabara Bay have reported worrying amounts of rubbish and pollution including discarded furniture and floating animal carcasses. The state government has already admitted it will not be able to meet its original target of reducing pollution in the bay by 80 per cent.

Next week marks a year to go to Rio 2016 and Bach said the preparations were on course but challenges remained.


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Bach, speaking after an IOC executive board meeting in Kuala Lumpur, said: "We have the issues which we discussed today again, the cleaning of the bay there were measures that have been presented and are two-fold: those which are starting already now and others which will be applied just before and during the Olympic Games to make sure that there is the safety and the health of the athletes.

"On the one hand we see great progress on the other there is no time to lose. But given the fact that the organising committee has acknowledged its challenges we are very confident we will have a great Games in one year because acknowledging challenges is the first and most important step to overcoming them."

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Bach added that the demands on completing the international broadcast centre in Rio was "really pressing" but there had been "great progress" in the Olympic village and other sports facilities.

He also said he had been reassured that the extension of the underground metro system to the Olympic Park in Barra, the main transportation project connected to the Games, would be ready in time.

In relation to Tokyo 2020, where the Japanese government has cancelled the design for the new Olympic stadium due to rise in costs, Bach said the IOC would be involved from the start of the new design.

The cancellation means the stadium will not be ready in time to host the final of the Rugby World Cup in 2019.

Bach said: "We have seen dramatic changes compared to the time of bidding by Tokyo - the construction costs for different reasons have just gone through the roof.

"This is why we respect this decision and we are sure Tokyo will have a state of the art stadium, and we have also offered our support and our input when it comes to putting the tender together so we can be sure the interest of athletes and spectators are being taken into account from the very beginning of the planning."

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