IAAF pleased with Olympic preparations

A top envoy for the International Amateur Athletics Federation praised the preparations for the 2004 Games yesterday in another sign that Athens is overcoming years of delays. «My general impression is very positive,» said IAAF General Secretary Istvan Gyulai following a two-day visit. «I must tell you I am pleased.» Gyulai said he and other IAAF officials were taken to the Olympic Village, which will house 17,300 athletes and Olympic officials. The site has been showcased by Athens organizers as an example of how the State has made up for delays that threatened to derail the 2004 Olympics. The next International Olympic Committee review in Athens will be in early November. «We were given a briefing… we were very pleased to learn that the travel time from the Olympic Village to the Olympic Stadium, according to them, will be 15 minutes,» Gyulai said. The village and main Olympic complex are approximately 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) apart. But refurbishment at the main Olympic stadium, where athletics will take place, has not started and construction crews have yet to begin a project at the site by noted Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. «This is not for us to keep even an eye on how this is moving. This is for the IOC Coordination Commission. We are dealing with various technical matters relating to the athletic competition,» Gyulai said. (AP)

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