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Rio Olympics 2016: Organizing committee chief dismisses power failures, political worries

A gymnastics event being held in Rio this week partly as a test run for the Games encountered power failures and problems with timings.

Rio 2016 Olympic Games Organising Committee President Carlos Arthur Nuzman speaks at a news conference during the IOC Coordination Commission's 10th visit to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 13, 2016. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares
Rio 2016 Olympic Games Organising Committee President Carlos Arthur Nuzman speaks at a news conference during the IOC Coordination Commission's 10th visit to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 13, 2016. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares

Rio de Janeiro's Olympic chief Carlos Nuzman on Tuesday brushed aside complaints over power failures and other problems revealed during a gymnastics test event and also played down concerns over a deepening political crisis in Brazil.

The Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) heard on Tuesday that a gymnastics event being held in Rio this week partly as a test run for the Games suffered from power failures, problems with the timing system and power outages when athletes were performing.

International Gymnastics Federation official Ron Froehlich told an ASOIF assembly that the power outages were potentially a "serious issue" and also complained of a lack of sufficient lighting in competition and training halls, which he blamed on funding problems.

But Nuzman, in his address to the assembly, said: "Test events are there to detect problems raised by athletes and national federations."

Nuzman also sounded a relaxed note about the political situation in Brazil, whose President Dilma Rousseff suffered a humiliating loss in a crucial impeachment vote in the lower house of Congress on Sunday. She is almost certain to be forced from office well before the Olympic Games open in Rio on Aug. 5.

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The crisis has paralysed the government as it struggles to revive the economy from its worst recession in decades, casting doubt on Brazil's ability to complete preparations for the event in time.

"Until today we have no involvement and no problems with any of the political or economical situations in the country," said Nuzman, head of the Rio organising committee.

"We are not involved in this and the Games will run normally as they have until today. We don't expect any problems in delivering the Games."

"I have no doubt we will deliver an incredible Games but it is important to remember the situation is completely different today," he said.

Brazil was awarded the Olympics in 2009 when it was enjoying a period of strong economic growth but has since fallen into its worst recession in decades. Brazil is also battling an outbreak of the Zika virus, which is linked to birth defects in newborns.

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