No worries, says Athens 2004 chief

With just 500 days left before the start of the Olympics, the chief organizer for the 2004 Games said yesterday she was increasingly confident that Athens will overcome delays and be ready on time. «We have a great deal yet to accomplish in a very short time. Despite the pressure, we are increasingly confident that our preparations will be completed on time,» Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki said. She added that Athens has made headway on a number of fronts, including the signing of a long-delayed security contract. «We have come a long way in a very short time,» Angelopoulos-Daskalaki said. «We have a clear plan of what must be accomplished in the 500 days that remain.» «All of this progress is testimony to the talent and energy of the Greek people, the hard work of the Greek public and private sector, and an unshakable commitment in every quarter to hosting an Olympic homecoming that will make both Greece and the Olympic movement proud,» she added. A series of pre-Olympic competitions is the next hurdle faced by organizers, and Angelopoulos-Daskalaki said, «Starting this August, we proceed with the test events.» Construction delays at some sports venues, however, may force organizers to reschedule a number of test events, competitions that allow officials to assess sites and allow time for corrections before the Olympics. (AP)