Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 9th 2014 Contents A61
Wednesday, April 9, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
BELEK---The head of Olympic
summer sports federations called
for urgent action yesterday to
tackle the critical delays facing
the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro
and accused the Brazilian gov-
ernment of neglecting the crisis.
Francesco Ricci Bitti said Rio s
troubled preparations are reaching
a stage where some sports may
need to consider "Plan B" options
for their venues.
"It s getting very serious," the
Italian said. "We have an organising
committee with good people but
without the leverage to cope with
the problem. ... We are scared.
This is not a country like China
where you can ask people to work
by night. In Brazil, this could not
happen. The government has to
Ricci Bitti heads the Association
of Summer Olympic International
Federations, which represents the
28 sports in the Rio Games. He
also leads the International Tennis
Federation and serves on the IOC
coordination commission for Rio,
which made its latest visit to Brazil
two weeks ago.
"We can be flexible in the infra-
structure but surely not in the
sports venues, and we are at risk
at sports venues," Ricci Bitti said.
"Even for the ones that don t con-
sider themselves at risk, we don t
see a sense of urgency."
The timetables are so tight that
backup plans may need to be con-
sidered by some sports, he said.
"We have to sit down and to
ARLINGTON---Shabazz Napier scored
22 points to lead the University of
Connecticut to its second national
college basketball title in four years,
beating the University of Kentucky
60--54 in the championship game in
Texas on Monday night.
Napier is among three Connecticut
seniors who were part of the Huskies
2011 title. That trio stayed after coach
Jim Calhoun s retirement, even when
the Huskies were ineligible for the
national tournament last season for not
meeting the required academic stan-
They came back strong in new coach
Kevin Ollie s second season, and the
Huskies went all the way to the title.
Kentucky, with five freshmen starters,
never led in the championship game.
The Wildcats missed 11 of 24 free
throws, while the Huskies were perfect
on ten tries.
"You re looking at the hungry
Huskies," Napier told the crowd after
the game. "Ladies and gentlemen, this
is what happens when you banned us."
Connecticut led by as many as 15 in
the first half and watched the Wildcats
trim the deficit to one with 8:13 left.
But Aaron Harrison, who pulled out
wins with clutch three-pointers in Ken-
tucky s last three games, missed a three
from the left corner that would ve given
the Wildcats the lead. Kentucky never
got that close again. Kentucky was led
by James Young, who had 20 points,
Connecticut came into the tourna-
ment a seventh-seeded afterthought
but walked away with the programme s
fourth national title since 1999. They
were the highest seed to win it all since
eighth-seeded Villanova in 1985.
A year ago, the Huskies were prepar-
ing for their first season in the new
American Athletic Conference after
being expelled from the Big East and
not welcomed by any of the so-called
power college conferences. Calhoun,
who built the programme, left because
of health problems. (AP)
Connecticut wins national
college basketball title
start looking at some Plan B s," Ricci
Rio s problems dominated discussions
at the ASOIF general assembly, which
took place during the SportAccord con-
vention in this Mediterranean resort in
southern Turkey. Rio will also top the
agenda for meetings of the International
Olympic Committee executive board,
which meets here today and tomor-
"We need to act now because if we
wait another six months, as it could
be looking at the inactivity of the gov-
ernment, I think it will become very
serious," Ricci Bitti said. "The organising
committee is doing its best, but the
government is not supporting enough."
Strike continues at venues
The meetings in Turkey come amid
a daily drumbeat of troubles in Brazil.
On Monday, striking construction
workers and security personnel clashed
at Rio s Olympic Park. Random gun-
shots were fired but no injuries were
Workers also went on strike Monday
at the Olympic stadium that will be
used for track and field at the games.
The venue has been closed since last
year to fix problems with the roof.
Guimaraes said the repair work would
completed by December.
Yesterday, more than 2,000 workers
stayed away from venue construction
A spokesperson for Rio Mais, the
consortium building venues at the
Olympic Park, confirmed the work
stoppage. It began Thursday in a dispute
over which union represents the con-
struction workers, and also involves
benefits and working conditions.
The Rio Olympics have been plagued
by a late start and delays, and the games
top the agenda of a meeting this week
in the southern Turkish resort of Belek.
The greatest concerns centre on the
Deodoro complex, an area that is to
host venues for eight sports. Work has
yet to begin on the site.
In addition, work on the Olympic
golf course is far behind schedule, rais-
ing concerns for the sport s return to
the games after more than a century.
Sports chief: Brazil gov't must act on Rio
Connecticut guard Shabazz Napier, left, forward DeAndre Daniels and guard Niels
Giffey celebrate after their team beat Kentucky 60--54 at the NCAA Final Four
tournament college basketball championship match Monday night in Arlington,
Texas. AP PHOTO
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