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Rio 2016 head vows to deliver Games on time and on budget

NANJING, China, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- Sidney Levy, chief executive officer of the Organizing Committee for Rio 2016 Olympics, has vowed on Monday to deliver the Games on time and on budget.

Brazil hosted the month-long FIFA World Cup without any major hitches, but the build-up to the soccer showpiece event was far less smooth. Almost every one of the 12 stadiums being used for the 11 billion-US-dollar tournament ended up being over budget and missed deadlines for completion, including the Sao Paulo Arena that was still being painted on the day it hosted the tournament opener on June 12. That raised concerns about what kind of event athletes and visitors will witness when Rio hosts the Olympics in exactly two years.

In an interview with Xinhua during his visit to Nanjing, China, Levy said that the Olympics are unlikely to face similar embrassment.

"We have a target to run the Games on budget, so we need to be very rational in the optimization of the resources," said Levy.

Levy exlpained that there are three budgets - the operational budget, which is for operating the games themselves, the budget for Games venue construction as well as the infrastructure budget, stressing that many investments are being made from the infrastructure budgets that are not just for the period of the Olympic and Paralympic Games but for the future wellbeing of generations of Brazilians to come.

Levy said that the majority of the operating budget will be covered through sponsorship, merchandising, ticket sales and a grant from the International Olympic Committee.

"We are exactly on budget so far, the IOC is very positive about that," said Levy. "That is possible to deliver a great Games on budget."

Levy, who is here meeting IOC and International Federations officials on the sidelines of the 2nd Summer Youth Olympics, are optimistic that the deadline for the Rio Olympics-related construction will be met, with 55 percent of all the venues are ready or being adapted.

"The venues that remain construction sites are much smaller than large soccer arenas," said Levy.

When asked what Rio 2016 can learn from the ongoing Youth Olympics, Levy said that he hopes to create a similar atmosphere for the Olympics' first visit to South America in two years' time.

"For us, it's more about how they are interacting with the population, which is very important for us to get how the Games get to the people," said Levy, who watched swimming, table tennis and taekwondo competitions on Sunday. "It's very clear that the people are enjoying it."

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