Monday 20 November 2017

Olympic organisers apologise after spectators made to wait for access to events

Fireworks go off as performers dance during the opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Brazil. (AP)
Fireworks go off as performers dance during the opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Brazil. (AP)
Fireworks explode over the Maracana during the opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Brazil. (AP)
Fireworks explode after the lightning of Olympic cauldron during the opening ceremony of the games in Rio (AP)
Supermodel Gisele Bundchen during the Rio Olympic Games opening ceremony at the Maracana

Olympic organisers apologised to spectators who endured delays accessing venues on the first full day of competition in Rio de Janeiro.

Organising committee spokesman Mario Andrada said on Saturday measures were being taken to prevent a repeat of the long queues to enter parts of the Olympic Park by enhancing the entry systems.

"We apologise to everyone who is standing in the sun in lines outside the venues," Mr Andrada said.

Spectators have to go through airport-style security checks before entering Olympic venues.

"This morning is the first morning of the Olympic Park with a full crowd and some of the procedures and some of the systems did not talk to each other," Mr Andrada said.

"We brought people in to help the coordination ... we owe the public an explanation."

Addressing questions about official buses getting lost, Mr Andrada said at a briefing that organisers would check if drivers had sufficient training.

"We don't have major structural problems with transport," Mr Andrada said.

Spectators did not have to queue to watch the cycling race on a gruelling course along the city's roads and they were rewarded with a thrilling spectacle.

Greg Van Avermaet of Belgium outsprinted Jakob Fuglsang and Rafal Majka on the long run to the finish at Copacabana Beach on Saturday to win the men's Olympic road race.

Van Avermaet threw his arms in the air and let out a roar when he crossed the line, blowing a kiss to the sky after the biggest victory of his career. Denmark's Fuglsang followed him to take silver and Majka appeared content with bronze.

His victory came after Italy's Vincenzo Nibali, one of the pre-race favourites, and Colombian counterpart Sergio Henao crashed while trying to navigate a corner on the final harrowing descent of the six-hour race. Great Britain's Geraint Thomas also fell when well positioned.

The riders were going so fast that TV cameras on motorbikes could not keep up, so it was unclear what caused them to crash. Both were still on the pavement when the cameras reached them - just in time to see Poland's Majka slicing through the shadows and riding away.

Known more for his climbing, Majka was eventually reeled in as the race neared the finish, where a sun-splashed crowd that had spent the day on the beach gathered to welcome them.

Beslan Mudranov became Russia's first medallist of the Rio Olympics after beating Kazakhstan's Yeldos Smetov in a judo final between representatives of two countries recently buffeted by doping scandals.

Mudranov took gold in the men's 60-kilogram division, beating Smetov on a golden score.

Russia is competing in Rio with a team diminished by doping scandals and bans, particularly in track and weightlifting.

Press Association

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