Rio ‘ready to welcome the world’ – IOC

The International Olympic Committee has moved to calm fears regarding this year’s Games and insist Rio de Janeiro is “ready to welcome the world”.

Having led the IOC group monitoring the preparations, Nawal el Moutawakel has made her final visit to Brazil after seven years of regular trips.

Concerns have recently been raised with a number of athletes withdrawing from the Games due to the threat of the Zika virus, while there are also worries about building delays and political crises.

However, El Moutawakel insists the venues were “ready for action”, despite initial plans having to be scaled back following economic problems.

Meanwhile, two sailors have claimed to have contracted infections from the water at the Guanabara Bay venue, after tests revealed high levels of bacteria and viruses.

New pipes have now been installed, and the IOC has said water quality levels are “much improved”.

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

And on the threat of the Zika virus, which has been linked to defects in newborn babies, the IOC said: “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.”