2016 Rio Olympics work to go on to last minute: Thomas Bach

Workers will probably still be finishing the Olympic stadium when the Rio Games start in a year`s time, but IOC president Thomas Bach told AFP the world will still be "overwhelmed" by the event.

AFP| Last Updated: Jul 30, 2015, 17:29 PM IST
2016 Rio Olympics work to go on to last minute: Thomas Bach

Kuala Lumpur: Workers will probably still be finishing the Olympic stadium when the Rio Games start in a year`s time, but IOC president Thomas Bach told AFP the world will still be "overwhelmed" by the event.

Bach, who will travel to Rio de Janeiro for the one year countdown on August 5, said in an interview Thursday that he believed the troubled preparations would be completed just in time.

"There is not a single second to lose," Bach said.

"Maybe when we arrive at the Maracana stadium for the opening ceremony we will still have the opportunity to shake hands and thank the last workers who will be finishing the stadium.

"But then when we come to the stands, I am sure we will all be overwhelmed by the hospitality and the enthusiasm of the Brazilians," he added.

The IOC leader said he was confident because "the organising committee has fully understood the challenges left and that they must work every day. It is in this spirit that Brazil is working."

Bach said after an IOC executive meeting on Wednesday that cleaning up the dangerously polluted Guanabara Bay where the sailing events will be held is the biggest challenge facing Rio ahead of the games.

The bay is in a stunning setting but has become notorious for floating debris, raw sewage and dangerous bacteria. Some Olympic windsurfers and yacht crew have called for the event to be moved away from Guanabara.

Rio organisers have rejected a move. But Bach said they had proposed some measures already underway "to ensure the safety and health of athletes" and more would start just before the Games which run from August 5 to 21, 2016.

A fleet of trash collecting boats is to be deployed in the sea during the Olympics.

Organisers have acknowledged that the bay will not be cleaned in time for the Olympics but say it will be safe enough for the competition to go ahead.

Bach said there was also an urgent need to get the international broadcasting centre ready on time and for public transport arrangements to be completed.