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Rio Olympics 2016: What to look out for before the games begin

The moment of truth is almost here for the host nation as the Opening Ceremony is just a day away.

Last Updated: Thursday, August 4, 2016 - 14:40
Rio Olympics 2016: What to look out for before the games begin
Zee Media Bureau/Chander Shekhar Luthra

Rio de Janeiro: Rio has a reputation as one of the most vibrant party cities in the world. And it has staged some of the biggest sporting events, from FIFA World Cup to Pan American Games.

However, this time around, it's a different ball game as Brazillian city hosts the most spectacular sporting carnival on the planet. After a largely negative build-up to the Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is desperately hoping that the South American nation will deliver an event which could be compared with the best.

The moment of truth is almost here for the host nation as the Opening Ceremony is just a day away.

If your are from Delhi, you would feel at home in Rio. From long line of slums on both sides of the road to pot holes, Olympic Rio resembles Commonwealth Delhi.

The long queue of sound barriers put on both sides of the road from Rio airport is more to hide the slums from the visitors that Olympics would draw.

Security is a concern

The first warning comes at the airport itself. "Please take authorised cabs or take the Games buses if you are an accredited person. It's not safe to be on your own here. Do take care of your luggage and phones," the Games volunteers caution.

Security is a huge issue here. Be it at a hotel or an apartment, advises follow. "Do not go out alone with wallet in your pocket."

"Keep little money in your pocket," comes another advise. And that's why army personnel in their armoured vehicles can be seen around Games Village. Police is also out in full force.

"The point is that the economic aspect of the country is worrisome. People have less money in their hands. They need jobs and that's why they are not so excited about the Olympics," Leandro Leal, a resident of the city, said on Wednesday.

The last minute rush to get things ready is similar to what happened in Delhi in the monsoon of 2010. People incharge are being criticised for the delay here much like the way Kalmadi and company had to face music.

Zika threat

Concerns over Zika virus has nade many high-profile athletes skip the global event. The IOC has been facing questions over choice of Rio as the venue. However, there are few positives.

For the first time, a team of about a dozen refugees will showcase their talents in the Olympic Games, marching under the IOC flag at the opening ceremony.

"There are some last-minute challenges, but our Brazilian friends are addressing them. It is all coming together. We are more confident than ever that we will have great Olympic Games in Rio."

When the Olympic flame is lit in the Maracana Stadium on Friday, it is hoped less will be heard of Bach and other sporting administrators," IOC president Thomas Bach said after arriving in Rio.

And if you think that only Usain Bolt is going to enthrall the crowd, think again. The likes of Brazilian trap shooter Janice Teixeira, making her Olympic debut at the age of 54 after recovering from a stroke, is just as incredible a story.

Not to forget India's Prakash Nanjappa, whose career was almost over three years back when he suffered paralytic attack (Bell's palsy) at a World Cup event in Spain. Or Egyptian gymnast Sherine Elzeiny, who was left temporarily blind in one eye a week before the World Championships in Glasgow last year.

Elzeiny now has 90 per cent vision in her left eye and earned a place in the Rio Games, from a situation where she was seeing "three beams and didn't know which one to choose".

Ramp down

A ramp to be used at the sailing competition of the Olympics collapsed on Wednesday. It served as a reminder to the incident ahead of Delhi CWG in 2010 when a footbridge near Nehru Stadium collapsed put a big question mark over the Games.

However, more than the ramp collapse, organisers here are dealing with high levels of pollution. Also, possibility of terror attacks is a major concern of the government.

The news of gas leaks in athlete rooms, robbing of athletes along with the ramp accident are other issues in the public eye. There is also a big debate over Russian competitors who are still awaiting World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) final word on their participation.

And not to forget India's Narsingh Pancham Yadav whose fate is also in the hands of WADA now.

First Published: Thursday, August 4, 2016 - 14:37

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