SPORTS

Organizer says delays at over 70 construction projects won't affect 2014 Games

01/16/2012 09:41 EST | Updated 03/17/2012 05:12 EDT
INNSBRUCK, Austria - The head of the organizing committee for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics has "no doubts" that all necessary construction work will be finished on time, despite reported delays at over 70 building projects.

"It has nothing to do with a real delay that could harm the Games," Dmitry Chernyshenko said Monday while visiting the Winter Youth Olympics. "We are well on track — 87 per cent of the infrastructure has been done already."

Chernyshenko said slowed construction works in the region would not affect the Games because less than 15 per cent of all building projects are directly related to the event.

"The majority of the work has nothing to do with the success of the Games," he said. "All the competition and non-competition venues for the Games are well on track. No doubts that we deliver that."

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak acknowledged Sunday that more than 70 projects are behind schedule but denied the Olympics would be affected.

"We have 393 construction projects with a thousand subprojects," Chernyshenko said. "Among them, some paperwork for handover of the land of some permission still needs to be done ... The Games' delivery is well on track and this is always confirmed by the watchdog from the IOC."

Sochi will host its first ever World Cup alpine skiing races from Feb. 8-12, and Chernyshenko said the city is ready for the test event.

According to Chernyshenko, Russia is using the Olympics as an accelerator for a major development of the Sochi and Krasnodar region.

"Sochi wasn't developed since the middle of last century," he said. "It was a smart solution to use the Olympic Games as an unmovable deadline to redevelop ... the region."

"The amount of work that we are doing to create an all-year-round resort and a winter sports destination, it's really huge."

Two years ago, the International Olympic Committee urged Russian officials to speed up as construction delays could threaten their ambitious plans for the 2014 Games, which included building all new facilities.

However, the IOC's co-ordination commission for Sochi has since said the construction of venues had significantly quickened.

MORE:cpSports