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1ST LEAD Brazil chief organizer say Rio Games on track, no risk from Zika By Andreas Schirmer, dpa

Europe
Von unserem dpa-Korrespondenten und Europe Online   auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Lausanne, Switzerland (dpa) - Preparations for the August Olympics in Brazil are going according to plan, the president of the Rio organizing committee, Carlos Nuzman, said Thursday.

Nuzman was briefing the executive board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Switzerland on Brazil‘s final preparations for the August 5-21 Games.

He sought to allay concerns about the troubled final sprint to the Games amid the political and economic turmoil in Brazil and the spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

"Many things can happen when you‘re organizing Olympics, but nothing will affect the games," Nuzman said.

There was no "public health risk" from Zika, assured the lawyer and former volleyball player.

Brazil has been hardest-hit by an on-going Zika outbreak in parts of Latin America. Recently, 151 leading scientists recommended that the Rio Games be postponed or moved to avoid intensifying the spread of the virus.

However, the World Health Organization disagreed, saying the event would "not significantly alter" the spread of Zika, which it had declared a public health emergency of international concern in February.

On the issue of health concerns expressed by rowers, canoeists and open water swimmers about polluted, sewage-filled waters, Nuzman assured of improvements and said the waters would be clean and safe.

He did concede, however, that there were ongoing problems with the completion of the 43-million-dollar velodrome, adding that the venue will only be available in late June for training.

On ticket sales Nuzman said that so far, 67 per cent of the 6 million tickets had been sold. "We will be sold out," he said.

IOC president Thomas Bach is scheduled to visit Brazil from June 14-16 to check on preparations for the Olympic Games and he will also meet Brazil‘s interim president, Michel Temer, the IOC said Wednesday.

Temer was named interim president after Brazil‘s Senate voted overwhelmingly in favour of suspending Dilma Rousseff from office for 180 days and subjecting her to an impeachment trial on charges of budget irregularities.

Temer will formally open the Games.

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