IOC uneasy over preparations

While expressing some faint praise for the pace of Greece’s preparations for the August Olympics, a top International Olympic Committee inspector yesterday indicated a level of concern regarding several key projects. These included the new roofs for the main Olympic stadium, the cycling track and the open-air swimming pool – all at the Kalogreza Olympic complex – as well the urban rail and and tram networks. At the opening of a two-day inspection visit, IOC Vice President and Chairman of the Athens Coordination Commission Denis Oswald issued a statement warning that «the deadline of August 13 looms larger by the day.» «It is vital that current completion dates be respected,» he said. «We have received commitments from government ministers that all work will be completed in time for testing and for finishing touches before the Games begin.» «It is wonderful to see so many people hard at work all across the city,» Oswald conceded. «We look forward to seeing the end results during the coming months.» Sources told Kathimerini that, apart from the three roofs – two of which were designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava – and the public transport networks, the IOC inspection team Oswald is heading expressed concern regarding the power infrastructure for the Games, raising the specter of electricity cuts during the Olympics. Fears have been expressed that a planned Public Power Corporation substation in Korydallos might not go ahead, while another new substation at Vrilissia is also behind schedule. IOC officials are also understood to be concerned about traffic management systems. Prime Minister Costas Simitis will chair an interministerial meeting on the Olympics today.

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