Stadium closure won't affect Olympic preparations: Rio mayor

Eduardo-PaesRio de Janeiro, March 28 : Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes has denied the closure of the city's Olympic athletics stadium will affect preparations for the 2016 Games.

The reassurance came a day after the Engenhao Stadium was shut after an engineer's appraisal showed the venue's roof could collapse due to structural problems, reports Xinhua.

"We already have a lot of responsibilities ahead of the Olympics but luckily we are within the expected time frame and can handle the situation," Paes said in a television interview.

"It (the appraisal) says there is a risk. Our priority here is to protect the lives of the people, that's why we closed it."

The Engenhao Stadium, built for the 2007 Pan-American Games, is set to have its capacity increased from 47,000 to 60,000 to host track and field events at the Rio Olympics.

The iconic Maracana stadium, currently in the final phase of major renovation work, will host the Games' opening and closing ceremonies as well as the Olympic and Paralympic football tournaments.

Consorcio Engenhao, the building consortium responsible for the project, says it is collaborating with the local government to find a quick solution.

The closure is the latest in a series of stadium setbacks to affect Brazil's preparations for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Only two of the country's six Confederations Cup venues are ready despite having initially been given a December 2012 construction deadline by world football's governing body FIFA.

The Confederations Cup, which will be held from June 15-30, is considered a dry run for the World Cup a year later. (IANS)



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