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Rio faces tough times but IOC upbeat about preparations

The Rio Olympics have been plagued by delays for years but, they said, the situation was improving.

Rio faces tough times but IOC upbeat about preparations

International Olympic Committee officials said on Wednesday they were confident next year`s Games in Rio de Janeiro would not be compromised by the political turmoil and economic downturn in Brazil, although preparations had "inevitably" been affected.

The Rio Olympics have been plagued by delays for years but, they said, the situation was improving.

However, as preparations go into the final stretch, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is facing impeachment and the economy is in a tight spot.

"It will inevitably affect the Games," IOC Vice President Craig Reedie told reporters when asked if Brazil`s situation had any impact on preparations.

"There are challenges," he said after Rio Games organisers delivered a progress report at the IOC Executive board meeting.

Opposition politicians launched the impeachment process against Rousseff last week for allegedly breaking Brazil`s budget laws. The Supreme Court suspended proceedings on Wednesday pending a decision on its constitutional validity.

Political wrangling over the impeachment could drag on for at least six months at a time when the government faces legislative gridlock, the deepest recession in three decades and a corruption scandal at state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA.

Police investigating the alleged corruption around Petrobras also plan to probe more than $10 billion of construction contracts for the Olympics in Rio.

The current situation is in stark contrast to when Rio was awarded the Games in 2009, with Brazil then enjoying a booming economy.

But Reedie said progress had been made towards getting South America`s first Olympics ready on time.

"There has been a massive improvement of the situation in the past months. That is good news," he said.

"Now you have to deliver the services levels that athletes and international federations expect and they (Brazil) have political and economic difficulties. We have come a very long way. We have to have total confidence," he said.

Rio Games chief Carlos Nuzman said the overall situation was presented to the IOC in a transparent way.

"We did not try to escape (from the facts). The most important thing is that nothing affects the athletes and the organisation of the Games."

Organisers are looking at ways to reduce their operating budget without compromising the Games, a tough task eight months before the games.

"We need to adjust everything," Nuzman said. "But that is normal. All the (Olympic) cities go through that, they all have to adjust everything. The most important thing is to deliver great Games."

From Zee News

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