RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Officials are preparing a Plan B in case the main swimming venue for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics is not ready for a test event in April.
Cornel Marculescu, the executive director of FINA, said the event from April 15-20 could be moved to the nearby diving venue, which also contains a 50-meter pool.
“There are still a lot of things to do,” Marculescu told The Associated Press. “We need to install an artificial ventilation system for the pool deck to make sure there is enough air circulation, that it’s not too hot or cold.”
Marculescu said the pool would be ready when the Olympics open on Aug. 5.
The venues for swimming, diving, water polo, and synchronized swimming have been among the most contentious issues for games organizers.
FINA has been openly critical of Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes for cutting seating in the main swimming venue, and for declining to install a roof on the remodeled diving venue. Paes responded that many of the 28 federations that oversee summer Olympics sports were too demanding, putting an undue burden on organizers.
“Each federation wants to have the best conditions possible,” Marculescu said.
Marculescu added the swimming venue for the London Olympics had seating for 17,500. Rio will have seats for about 12,000, and only about 8,000 will be on sale to the public.
“We’re not anymore in a position to complain that we don’t have this, we don’t have that,” Marculescu said. He said Paes was helping him resolve problems.
“We are now at the stage to do the best with what we have. I have no doubt we will have great Olympics here.”
South America’s first Olympics have been plagued with many problems including deep budget cuts, severe water pollution in venues for sailing, rowing and canoeing, and now the Zika virus. However, construction delays have seldom been an issue.
But in the last several months, snags have occurred in building the venues for tennis, equestrian, and track cycling. Paes has repeatedly said the venues were not in jeopardy.
The Rio newspaper O Globo reported Paes warned the International Olympic Committee there was an “elevated risk” that a subway line extension will not be ready for the games.
The line, which costs about 10.3 billion Brazilian reals ($2 billion), will connect the Copacabana and Ipanema beach areas with the western suburb of Barra da Tijuca, the location of the main Olympic Park. O Globo said the main obstacle was a delay in getting additional funding.
Stephen Wade on Twitter: http://twitter.com/StephenWadeAP. His work can be found athttp://bigstory.ap.org/content/stephen-wade
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