February 10, 2015 / 1:43 PM / 3 years ago

Pyeongchang Games test events on track, say organizers

(Reuters) - Preparation of test events for the Pyeongchang 2018 winter Olympics are proceeding as planned, organizers said on Tuesday, dismissing concerns by ski chief Gian-Franco Kasper that some of them would not take place.

“POCOG (organizing committee) is continuing with preparations for the scheduled test events beginning in 2016 as planned, in close cooperation with the central government and Gangwon province.” organizers said in an e-mailed statement to Reuters.

“Both have committed their full support to ensure all venues will be ready on time.”

International Ski Federation (FIS) president Kasper told Reuters on Monday it is “almost impossible” that ski and snowboard test events scheduled for next year will go ahead.

Outspoken Kasper, who last year caused a stir with comments about “construction mafias” and corruption before the Sochi 2014 winter Olympics, said political squabbling and proposed venue changes could result in the postponement of a number of test events.

“We had them here, a big delegation (Pyeongchang organizers) and now they think about changing snowboard, freestyle, everything, although it is almost finished,” Kasper said during a break in competition at the alpine ski world championships in Beaver Creek.

“The new places make test events almost impossible, next year, particularly the alpine.”

Pyeongchang’s preparations for the first Asian winter Olympics outside Japan have been hit by budget problems and delays in some venues.

The FIS has tentatively penciled in a men’s downhill and Super-G for the South Korea winter resort on next year’s World Cup schedule.

A snowboard halfpipe and parallel slalom World Cup scheduled for next season in Pyeongchang and a freestyle test event at Phoenix Park are also in jeopardy, Kasper said.

Games organizers said a detailed plan on test events would be sent out later this month.

“POCOG is working to meet the expected requirements set by the international federations, and will send FIS a detailed action plan for test events (Jeongseon Alpine and Bokwang Snow Park) and games operations by the end of February.”

Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; editing by Justin Palmer

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