Rio de Janeiro preparations on track: mayor

Fri Dec 19, 2014 11:38am EST
 
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RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Preparations for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games are on track and facilities are set to be delivered on time, the mayor of host city Rio de Janeiro said on Friday.

Speaking at a press conference, Mayor Eduardo Paes said the main hurdles to preparations had been overcome and there should be no problem meeting deadlines if work continues at the current pace.

"It's never a comfortable situation, but things are quite up-to-speed," Paes told reporters in Rio. "We have full control of the process now."

Brazil's preparations for the 2016 games have been under scrutiny, especially after the country's preparations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup ran over budget and down to the wire.

Olympic organizers are facing other challenges besides construction, however.

Scientists at a Rio de Janeiro research institute have found what they call a new "super-bacteria" that is resistant to antibiotics in the waters where sailors will compete in the Olympic sailing events.

More than half the water that flows into Rio's Guanabara Bay is sewage and organizers have vowed to reduce that amount by 80 percent by the time the events start in August 2016.

Paes told reporters the cleanup falls under the responsibility of the state government and did not provide further details.

The total budget for the 2016 Olympic Games stands at 37.6 billion reais ($14.2 billion). Brazil will spend 24.1 billion reais of that total on infrastructure improvements and 6.5 billion reais on facilities being built specifically for the competition. The Games' organizing committee will cover the remaining 7 billion reais through sponsorships and ticket sales.   Continued...