Early delivery expected

A media village being built near the main Olympic sports complex will probably be delivered ahead of schedule, the head of the Athens organizing committee said yesterday. Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki said the village, one of seven that will house an estimated 22,000 media representatives, would be the first to open for reporters covering the August 13-29 Games. «It seems we will take delivery earlier than we expected,» Angelopoulos-Daskalaki said after touring the village, to be used by about 1,000 media representatives. The village, a former school, will be taken over by the Education Ministry after the Olympics. According to Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, the village will be delivered to organizers on June 5 and will open on July 13. The other media villages will open 17 days later. Athens has suffered numerous setbacks because of construction delays but has managed to make up for much of the time lost over the past six years. Delays in the construction of some media villages were a concern for Olympic officials. Projects still causing concern include a delayed steel-and-glass roof for the main Olympic stadium, the refurbishment of an important soccer stadium and a tramline considered vital to ease Athens’s chronic traffic congestion. In Athens to inspect progress of Olympic basketball facilities, two high-ranking FIBA officials, the sport’s international governing body, also met yesterday with organizers to discuss operational matters for next summer’s Olympic competition. Lubomir Kotleba, FIBA’s director of competitions, and Florian Wanninger, the association’s press coordinator, expressed satisfaction with progress on an arena now under construction in Hellenikon, southern Athens, to be used for preliminary games and practice. «Construction of the stadium is progressing rapidly, which is satisfying. We’ve been assured that the project will be completed by May 31, which is important, because we need to organize the test event,» Kotleba said. «We discussed various operational matters and I can say that we’re on the right track, though more intense work is needed,» he added. Next summer’s Olympic basketball action began taking real shape a little over a week ago in Madrid, where the men’s tournament’s draw divided the 12 finalists into two groups. Included in Greece’s group is the NBA-manned USA. The draw for the women’s competition is scheduled to take place in Athens on January 26. (AP, Kathimerini)