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1ST LEAD IOC satisfied with Pyeongchang progress, but pace must continue By Dirk Godder, dpa

Germany
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Seoul (dpa) - Olympic inspectors are satisfied with the progress of preparations for the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang but also warned that South Korean organisers continue in this way with the first events set for February.

Gunilla Wiberg, chair of the coordination commission of the International Olympic Committee, said at the conclusion Thursday of their inspection that the work must continue at the current pace as the "delivery phase" for the Games has now begun.

"The venues continue to progress rapidly. The competition sites remain on schedule for the Games, but the organisers need to maintain their focus, as some delivery dates are very close to the start of the test events," She said in an IOC statement.

"It is important that Pyeongchang 2018 delivers these events successfully and, in particular, the first events next February, in order to create a solid basis for its planning and preparations for the Games."

Test event in early 2016 include World Cup competitions in alpne skiing, freestyle and snowboard.

The IOC commission visited the alpine ski centre and the sliding track, which will also see first action next year, and participated in the groundbreaking ceremony for the athletes‘ village which is to house 3,500 athletes and to be completed in September 2017.

Its next visit to South Korea is set for March 2016.

Pyeongchang preparations had been hit by financial issues, delays, and difficulties to win sponsors but measures such as bringing in international experts and an integration working group between the IOC and the organizing committee POCOG, and an organising committee for the test events has helped improve matters.

The IOC also said that the government is helping organizers in their efforts and that POCOG has now reached over 50 per cent of its sponsorship target.

"I feel that we are moving in the right direction," POCOG president Cho Yong Ho said. "With the feedback and support of the coordination Commission, we have made a number of important and critical decisions."

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