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By Jayme Monsanto, Senior Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO – The first visit of the Rio 2016 Coordinating Commission to Rio de Janeiro was a complete success. On January 17th, four representatives of the commission arrived at the city for three days of intense meetings with the local government and visits to the 2016 Olympic venue sites.

Nawal El Moutawakel a member of the Coordinating Committee for the 2016 games, photo by Itsuo Inoye.
Nawal El Moutawakel a member of the Coordinating Committee for the 2016 games, photo by Itsuo Inoye.

The International Olympics Committee (IOC) assembled this Commission to assist the Local Organizing Committee during the period leading up to the Olympic Games, as well as to monitor the progress of the preparations.

Although the commission is comprised of eighteen IOC executives from all over the world with previous experience in Olympic Games Organizing Committees, only four of them came to Rio this time: executive director Gilbert Felli, project manager Jennifer O’Brian, design, planning and control consultant Grant Thomas, and Nawal El Moutawakel, who is the president of the Rio 2016 Coordinating Commission.

Nawal El Moutawakel is a former Minister of Youth and Sports in Morocco, and Olympic champion, having won gold in the 400m hurdles in the 1984 Olympics, in Los Angeles. Since 1998 she has been a member of the IOC, and in 2006 was called up to the Executive Board. Since then, she presided the Evaluation Commissions for the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games.

Brazil's Minister of Sport Orlando Silva, photo courtesy of opovo.com/Flickr Creative Commons License.
Brazil's Minister of Sport Orlando Silva, photo courtesy of opovo.com/Flickr Creative Commons License.

Showing Brazil’s commitment to the Olympics, the meetings were attended by Minister of Sports Orlando Silva, Rio Governor Sérgio Cabral and Mayor of Rio Eduardo Paes, as well as the President of the Organizing Committee, Carlos Arthur Nuzman.

Nawal El Moutawakel praised Brazil’s attitude towards the Games. “We discussed how the organization of the Rio 2016 Games will be managed, and I am convinced that this is a very promising partnership. There is no time to lose when it comes to the organization of the Games but Rio is working fast, and a wonderful Olympic Games will be delivered if this pace is kept. We are all sailing on the same boat, and we are here to help stage a highly successful event”, she said.

One of the topics discussed was the establishment of the Olympic Public Authority which will be in charge of coordinating public services and the delivery of the infrastructure needed for the Rio 2016 Games.

The visit also allowed El Moutawakel to visit a unit of Rio’s Pacification Police, which had been part of Rio’s presentation during the bid process. “Safety is always a priority for the IOC. We asked to visit the Pacification Police because we were very impressed by the presentation of that project during Rio’s candidature”, she said.

The Rio 2016 Coordinating Commission’s next visit will happen in May and will be attended by all of the eighteen members of the commission.

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