Olympic Equestrian Venue Among Last to Be Completed, But Organizers Promise Will Be On Time

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Olympic equestrian venue at Deodor outside Rio de Janeiro.
Olympic equestrian venue at Deodor outside Rio de Janeiro.

RIO DE JANEIRO, July 11, 2016–The Olympic equestrian center in Deodoro outside Rio de Janeiro is one of the last two venues to be completed but the International Olympic Committee reported Monday the complex is in “the final stage of preparation” and will be ready for the Games.

The first of the 200 horses plus reserves to compete in dressage, eventing and jumping are scheduled to leave Europe on Sunday, July 31 ahead of eventing dressage beginning Aug. 6 to kick off equestrian. Dressage starts with the Nations Cup on Aug. 10.

Nawal El Moutawakel, chair of the IOC Coordination Commission that tracks preparations, declared in a final pre-Games report that “Rio is ready” 25 days before the Opening Ceremony and provided an upbeat assessment of the first Olympics to be staged in South America.

“The velodrome and equestrian venues, which were being monitored closely by the organizers, are also in the final stage of preparation, and will be ready for the Games,” she said.

The report addressed some of the issues that have swirled around the Games–from the Zika virus to security, but not the political instability and serious government funding issues that have left thousands of police and other public safety officials without pay for months.

“The subject of Zika was discussed during the visit,” Nawal El Moutawakel said. “It was underlined that the latest advice of the WHO (World Health Organization) reaffirms that ‘there should be no general restrictions on travel and trade with countries, areas and/or territories with Zika virus transmission, including the cities in Brazil that will be hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

”…The local authorities and organizers explained the ongoing work that is being carried out to minimize the risk to visitors. It was also pointed out that the Games will take place during the winter months of August and September when the drier, cooler climate greatly reduces the presence of mosquitoes and therefore the risk of infection.”

Brazilian authorities, she said, “reinforced their commitment to safe and secure Games, with a combined security force of 85,000 people guaranteeing the security of the Olympic Village, the sports venues and key infrastructure, such as the city’s airports and main roads. Security personnel from 55 countries will be involved in securing the Games.”