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Rio Olympics will counter terror, scandals

IOC President Thomas Bach. PHOTO/AFP

IOC President Thomas Bach. PHOTO/AFP

BERLIN, January 24- Six months before the start of the Rio Olympics, IOC president Thomas Bach believes the summer games will be the perfect antidote to recent terror attacks and corruption scandals.

“The Olympic Games is the only event that brings together the entire world under one roof without any discrimination,” Bach told German magazine Kicker, in an edition due to appear on Monday.

“Sport is the only real area of human life where there truly is equal rights for all.”

After the recent terror attacks and corruption scandals, in football and athletics, Bach says sport demonstrates a unity rarely seen in economics, culture or science and “I don’t even want to talk about politics”, he added.

The 62-year-old German president of the International Olympics Committee says the Olympics movement has stolen a march in Brazil, compared to the World Cup finals of 2014, which were also hosted by the south American nation.

The football tournament’s organising committee was criticised for a lack of sustainability after building expensive stadiums and airports specially for the tournament.

“We see that those responsible and the Brazilian population has realised the Olympics are part of the solution, not the problem,” said Bach.

“In football, we talk about stadiums and airports, with the Olympics we provide housing for thousands of people.”

Despite organisers of the Rio Olympics having faced immense economic problems, Bach remains confident the 2016 Games will be a success, when they start on August 5.

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“We all know that the political and economic circumstances in Brazil are very, very difficult and the country is in deep crisis,” said Bach.

“But the construction work is largely complete and we are confident of experiencing an outstanding Olympic Games.”

Bach criticised former IAAF president Lamine Diack, who stood down as world athletics boss in August before being charged with corruption by French judges, accused of making millions from bribes during his 15-year tenure.

But Bach was unclear whether or not Russian athletes will be able to compete in Rio.

Russia was banned indefinitely from international competition by the IAAF in November after an independent WADA commission found evidence of “state-sponsored” doping in the country.

“There is zero tolerance, which means everyone involved, be they athletes, coaches, doctors or officials, must be punished,” said Bach.

“At the same time, clean athletes must be protected.

“The IAAF now has to see what progress has been made and whether or not the suspension may be lifted.”

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