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Saturday, 14 December 2019 14:33

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UPCOMING OLYMPIC GAMES

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Members of the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) have been urged to rally behind Rio 2016 in the face of the multitude of problems facing Brazilian hosts by the body's Presidential contender.

According to Keith Joseph, the general secretary of the Saint Vincent and the Grenadine Olympic Committee who is one of five likely candidates for the Presidency, it is vital that the PASO community "stands firm" alongside its member nation.

"It is very unfortunate that over the past several months Rio, and indeed all of Brazil, have been in the international media for a variety of reasons, none of which are the responsibility of the Organising Committee of the Games or the National Olympic Committee of the country," he said in a statement sent to insidethegames.

"The issues that have emerged have nonetheless significantly impacted the preparations for the Games as well as created much concern amongst participating countries and their athletes.

"In the face of the numerous challenges that have confronted and continue to confront the Organising Committee and the Brazilian Olympic Committee, we in PASO must stand firm alongside our colleagues, fully reaffirming our commitment to the fundamental principles enshrined in Olympism, to participating in the Games and to the realisation of its success."

Many of the challenges ahead of the Games are at least partly of the organisers and local political authorities own making, such as lingering construction problems at venues and the incompletion of the subway line due to link the Olympic Park with the rest of the city.

Others are out of their control, however, such as the global concerns over Zika virus, security worries, and political instability following the impeachment of former President Dilma Rousseff.

A further concern emerged last week after the Rio de Janeiro laboratory was suspended by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

"In Rio 2016 we have at once a date with history and destiny in the realisation of a most successful edition of the Summer Olympics," Joseph added.

"We must show the world our resolve in the face of adversities of all sorts and from all quarters.

"I appeal to all of the members of the PASO Olympic Family to let us join hands to seize the historic moment and revel in the true principles of the International Olympic Movement at this particular juncture."

Among Joseph's expected rivals for the PASO Presidency is Rio 2016 head Carlos Nuzman, as well as St Lucia's Richard Peterkin, Chile's Nevan Ilic and Dominican Republic's José Joaquín Puello.

An election to replace Uruguay's Julio Maglione is expected to be held either at the end of this year, or in the first two months of 2017.

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