Coe praises Rio's Olympic progress

Rio de Janeiro, Oct 16 (IANS) London's 2012 Olympic chief Sebastian Coe has praised the progress of construction work at Rio's 2016 athletes' village.

Coe was Tuesday given a tour of the facility accompanied by the city's Olympic organising committee chairman Carlos Nuzman, reports Xinhua.

"It's a fantastic project, a challenge. It is very, very impressive," Coe said.

"Construction work seems to be of the highest standard. It's going to be an excellent Olympic village."

Local media reported that only three of the 31 buildings planned for the site were on track to be completed on time.

But Nuzman denied there were any delays to Rio's Olympic projects.

"Work will comfortably be concluded in time for the test events," he said.

The deadline set by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for the completion of construction work is March 2016.

The Olympic Village has been earmarked to be officially opened July 18, just over two weeks before the opening ceremony.

Coe's visit comes amid a backdrop of continued social unrest in Brazil's major cities.

Anti-government protests that started during the Confederations Cup in June have continued this month in the cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

Many of the protesters have expressed anger at the billions of dollars being spent on next year's FIFA World Cup and the Rio Games, instead of essential services like healthcare, transport and education.

"You're never going to walk through this without groups of people occasionally using the games - the extraordinary penetration that the brand has around the world - as a backdrop to all sorts of issues," Coe said.

"I'm happy that Carlos is doing this now and not me," he added.


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