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IOC President plays beach soccer with Olympic athletes

Aug 7, 2015 International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach looked to put an end to concerns regarding Rio’s water quality after engaging athletes in a friendly beach soccer kick-about.

Bach, who was presented with a personalized Brazil jersey at sundown, had this to say:

“This was a great start to the one year to go celebrations. After a 24-hour flight, having a bit of sport and with so many athletes, this is how it should be. I think the Games are very important for the cariocas (the people of Rio), and for Brazil because they will leave a great, great legacy. There will be a Rio de Janeiro before the Olympic Games, and there will be a Rio de Janeiro, a better one after the Olympic Games,”

According to reports from the Brazilian foreign ministry, with one year to go for the games, the Olympic village is 84 percent complete. The swimming pool, media center and the three arenas that will host six indoor events are all more than two-thirds ready.

Work on the Maracana, where the opening and closing ceremonies and the soccer finals will take place is yet to begin; this is also the case for temporary venues for the rugby and beach volleyball.

Officials also claim that a new metro line out to Barra da Tijuca, where many of the events will take place, is on schedule.

The biggest challenge currently being faced by the local organizing committee is the waters off the Atlantic coast, where sailing, triathlon and open water swimming will take place.

The Brazilian authorities had promised to reduce pollution by 80 percent in the bay, but according to independent studies released last week, a high level of viruses and bacteria were still found in the water and officials admit they will not meet that target.

“For the Games what is important is that we will have good conditions for the athletes, there in the waters where the competitions are taking place, and there you have seen with the Triathlon test event that everything is going in the right direction. It has to be monitored closely, it will be monitored closely, and then in one year from now I think we will see great competitions,” said Bach.

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