SPORTS

Floridis admits 2004 delays

Sports Minister Giorgos Floridis admitted yesterday that commencement dates for the construction of sports venues for the 2004 Athens Olympics were optimistic and born of ignorance on the part of officials involved, but added the projects will be ready on time. Floridis is responsible for the refurbishment of the main Olympic sports complex at Maroussi, north of Athens, the construction of three indoor arenas for weightlifting, wrestling and judo and table tennis and rhythmic gymnastics respectively, the construction of the Olympic equestrian and shooting centers at Markopoulo, near the new Athens airport, and upgrading four soccer stadiums outside Athens, where soccer qualifiers will be held. Floridis will face the visiting members of the International Olympic Committee’s Coordination Commission. The commission will conduct a three-day inspection beginning today. There have been complaints in the past from IOC circles about progress in the works under Floridis’s watch and there are likely to be now, as well, since actual construction of the venues has not begun yet. Anticipating the criticism, Floridis said that almost all the legal obstacles responsible for the delays are now behind, and that completion dates stood as before. Construction will have begun at all sites by November, he promised. Floridis added that the delays will not affect the projects’ budget, although the IOC is not concerned with the budget, he said. The panorama also focuses on another important female artist: Margarethe von Trotta, whose work as a director, screenplay writer and actress transformed German cinema in the 1960s and ’70s by focusing on controversial issues with a candid cinematic and narrative style.