Baku confident of being ready for European Games

Sat Nov 8, 2014 1:46am EST
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By Julian Linden

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Baku is facing a race against time to be ready to host next year's inaugural European Games with thousands of construction workers scrambling around the clock to get all the facilities finished.

Just a quarter of the 16 venues have been completed but organizers are confident everything will be ready before the opening ceremony on June 12, 2015.

Given less than three years to prepare for the Games after the European Olympic Committee awarded the rights to Baku in December 2012, the Azerbaijan capital was always facing a Herculean task.

But with 4,000 people currently working 24 hours a day just on the 68,000-seater new national stadium, organizers say they have no doubts Baku will meet the deadline.

"I'm incredibly confident," Baku 2015 Chief Operating Officer Simon Clegg said before a presentation on the city's progress to the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) on Saturday.

"This is not an issue, I have no concerns at all.

"Let's just say they lay concrete very quickly in Azerbaijan."

Clegg, formerly the British Olympic Association's first chief executive, said the former Soviet republic was one of the few countries that had the money and the will to organize a major multi-sports event at short notice but future hosts would be given more time.   Continued...