PUNTA DEL ESTE, Uruguay, Apr 25 – International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach on Tuesday defended last year’s Games in Rio de Janeiro against criticism that expensive venues built for the event have since fallen into disrepair.
He insisted Rio had benefited from the Games even though they took place during a deep recession in Brazil.
The Rio Games were “a big success under difficult circumstances”, he said, speaking at a meeting of the Pan American Sports Organization in Uruguay.
Brazil has been stricken over the past year by political ructions and corruption scandals.
Various sports installations including the famed Maracana football stadium have fallen into disrepair since the Games ended in August, despite having been renovated for the event.
Bach insisted the city had nevertheless benefited from transport and infrastructure improvements linked to the Games.
He said that Olympic venues in other cities are often closed for years after the Games finish since it takes time to adapt them for new uses.
The Pan American Sports Organization is meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday in the Uruguayan beach resort of Punta del Este to elect a new president.s: