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Three refugees can target Rio Olympics participation

Europe
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Lausanne, Switzerland (dpa) - Three athletes who have fled their home countries have been given hope of participating at the Olympic Games in Rio next year, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said Wednesday.

The trio are a swimmer from Syria now in Germany, a Congolese judo player now in Brazil and an Iranian taekwando fighter who is in Belgium, IOC director Pere Miro told reporters on the fringe of executive committee meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The IOC called on international federations to highlight the cases of other refugee athletes who could take part at Rio under the Olympic flag if they meet the sporting qualifying criteria.

Earlier Wednesday Carlos Numan, head of the Rio 2016 organizing committee, told the IOC executive board that 80 per cent of the venues were already complete.

"Today we can say we are on the way," he told delegates, adding that concerns over water pollution for sailing and open water events would be fully addressed.

IOC vice-president Craig Reedie was pleased with the Rio organizing committee given Brazil has been hit by economic woes of late.

"There have been massive improvements in recent months. The venues have been delivered," he said.

It was also announced that track cycling and mountain bike events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be moved 120 kilometres away from the Japanese capital to save on costs.

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