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Putin: Sochi will become centre of world sports
February 8, 2013, 12:55 pm

 A countdown clock to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Moscow, Russia. [Xinhua]

A countdown clock to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Moscow, Russia. [Xinhua]

The Russian President Vladimir Putin calls on Olympics organisers to redouble efforts for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Exactly a year until the start of the Games, President Putin launched the countdown to the start of the 2014 XXII Winter Olympic Games.

The clocks were also launched in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Yekaterinburg, Pyatigorsk and Khabarovsk.

“We are now exactly one year from the start of the XXII Winter Olympic Games and from the moment when Russia’s city of Sochi will become the centre of world sports and the planet’s best athletes will gather here in a vivid and uncompromising test of strength, skill, and will to win,” Putin said at the celebration ceremony, marking one year until the start of the Olympics.

“In order to make the success complete, we still need to work intensively, redoubling our efforts,” he said.

The president inspected Olympic facilities – the Olympic Village, the main media centre, the Adler Arena indoor skating centre, the Ice Cube curling centre, and the Shaiba ice hockey rink.

The total number of facilities is 47, some of them are operational and others are still under construction.

Overall Putin was quite satisfied with the preparation to the Games.

However, he criticised the failure to meet several deadlines and fired Akhmed Bilalov, the Olympics committee deputy chief.

The 2014 Sochi Olympics is one of the most ambitious projects in the Olympic movement’s history – there was not a single sport facility meeting international standards a few years ago.

“We presented our bid in February 2007. We are fulfilling the promises we made then. The work taking place in Sochi and around is unprecedented in Russia’s modern history and indeed in the Olympic movement’s history.

“The area’s unique natural conditions and the infrastructure we have put in place will make these Games the most compact and convenient for the sportspeople and the thousands of visitors.

“The Games will leave us a legacy of unprecedented scale that will bring enormous benefits for Sochi itself and for developing sport in Russia and around the whole world,” Putin said.

Daria Chernyshova