Rio 2016 is ready to welcome the World- Nawal El Moutawakel

Image Credit: Rio 2016

Agreeing to the Brazilian President’s claim, the IOC COCOM Chairperson, Nawal El Moutawakel has seconded Mr. Temer and said, “Rio 2016 is ready to welcome the world.”

The former Moroccan hurdler, who won the inaugural women’s 400 meters hurdles event at the 1984 Summer Olympics, is heading the Apex Olympics Body’s Coordination Commission for the Rio 2016 Summer Games and has been following the preparations for the Games which are scheduled to go live in another 25 days.

There were questions over the organization of the Games, when she visited the Olympic Games host city, for a Pre-games visit and she, along with other members, tried to seek answers. We are detailing these below:

Overall planning:

The Coordination Commission had meetings with the Rio 2016 Organising Committee, plus the external government stakeholders (Federal, State and City), and a tour of a number of sporting venues.

Speaking post these meetings, El Moutawakel said, “Rio 2016 is ready to welcome the world. The Olympians of 2016 can look forward to living in an outstanding Olympic Village and competing in absolutely stunning venues. From views of the Corcovado and Sugar Loaf Mountain to the new state-of-the-art facilities in Barra or Deodoro and the iconic Maracanã Stadium and Copacabana Beach, I cannot imagine more spectacular backdrops for the world’s top sportsmen and women to showcase their talents to a watching world.”

Venue Readiness:

Speaking about the venue completion, transport, other services and legacy the games will create, the Chairperson of COCOM continued, “I have been visiting Rio regularly since 2009, and I love the Cariocas, and the Brazilians in general.  They are a very warm and hospitable people, who know how to welcome guests and how to live life to the fullest. Spectators visiting Rio this August will be able to fully experience that spirit, as they go to the venues, visit the live sites and discover the city. The Cariocas are going to be celebrating, and this means that Rio de Janeiro will be the place to be this August. The Brazilians have also transformed the city through a legacy vision that they have made a reality. Not just by delivering all the venues and services that the Games require on time, but also by creating a legacy that will benefit local citizens and the whole country for decades. The success of these Games will be their success.”

Test Events:

Success of all 44 test events associated with the Summer Games means that the games readiness aspect is taken care off. The team which has successfully hosted 44 test events, and the venues are ready for action, with all the facilities receiving their final Olympic touches before the athletes start to arrive. Questions were raised about the velodrome and equestrian venues, which were being monitored closely by the organisers; these are also in the final stage of preparation, and will be ready in time.

Transportation facilities:

With regards to the transport facilities: the new Metro Line 4, which links Ipanema and Barra da Tijuca, and the Transolimpica Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), linking Barra to Deodoro, will also be fully operational for spectators. Trains are now running the full length of the route, and a final round of testing is the next scheduled thing.

The Rio State authorities have already tested the personnel, rolling stock and safety technology of the new line, while the last bits of construction were being completed. The sophisticated transport plan that will see athletes, spectators and local residents take advantage of a number of new pieces of transport infrastructure, have already been changing local peoples’ lives for the better.

Threats of Zika virus:

One of the primary issue to be discussed during the pre-Games visit was Zika. As per the supporting documents provided by the Organising Committee and latest advice of the WHO reaffirms that “there should be no general restrictions on travel and trade with countries, areas and/or territories with Zika virus transmission, including the cities in Brazil that will be hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games” , the local authorities and organisers are not leaving any work pending to minimize the risk to visitors.

Since the Games will take place during the winter months of August and September, when the drier, cooler climate greatly reduces the presence of mosquitoes and therefore the risk of infection go negligible.

Games Security:

As also highlighted by the Brazilian Interim President in his recent welcome message, the authorities reinforced their commitment to safe and secure Games, with a combined security force of 85,000 people guaranteeing the security of the Olympic Village, the sports venues and key infrastructure, such as the city’s airports and main roads. Security personnel from 55 countries will be involved in securing the Games.

Facilities for Athletes:

The Chair of COCOM, El Moutawakel was also updated on the work that is being carried out in the Guanabara Bay and Lagoa venues. The new network of pipes that has recently been put into service around the Marina da Gloria area is showing its effectiveness, with the latest readings presenting much improved water quality levels in that area. Organisers were confident of delivering quality water for the athletes.

Games Time Operations:

With regards to the Games time operations, which is the execution phase of the Summer Games, the Rio 2016 President Carlos Arthur Nuzman commented, “Our journey is now entering its most critical phase: Operation of the Games.  We are obviously very proud that we are ready to welcome the world and we can also see the transformation of Rio everywhere we go.” He continued, “A lot of work lies ahead of us but we have plenty of energy. We will deliver great Games.”

Games Branding & Look:

25 days away, Rio de Janeiro is getting dressed-up, as elements of the Games’ Look go up across the city. Organisers and local authorities were keen to underline the Carioca and Brazilian spirit that athletes, visitors and Games spectators will find in the city this August. As well as seeing the world’s best Olympic athletes competing in outstanding settings, spectators will be able to take advantage of the Games’ live sites, including in the newly revitalised port area; experience the Olympic spirit Carioca style in the Barra and Deodoro Parks; hang out at the beach; and discover a city and people with an important cultural heritage and a reputation for hosting one of the world’s number one celebrations every year, the Carnival.

Legacy of the Summer Games:

The legacy of the Summer Games includes better transport infrastructure, sports venues that will become schools or sports facilities for local communities, around 70 new hotels, improved waste management, training for thousands of workers and volunteers, and investments in the city and local businesses. The city will become even more attractive in the years to come.

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