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Some Problems Remain Ahead of Turin
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There are still problems to resolve, particularly in transportation, before the Winter Olympics begin Friday.

Turin and the surrounding mountain venues are generally ready, however, organizing chief Valentino Castellani said Monday.

"We are very satisfied and committed," Castellani said. "We don't have any structural problems. Everything is working. ... We will have always some small problems to solve. What is important is to solve them quickly."

International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge offered his endorsement.

"Like with all games, the final stretch is always the most difficult one," he said. "Here and there, a couple of issues need to be solved. But there are still a few days until the opening ceremony. I'm very confident these will be very good games."

Cesare Vaciago, CEO of the organizing committee, said the biggest problem involved transportation — getting Italian drivers to respect the lanes reserved for Olympic vehicles and making sure bus drivers know their way around.

More than 2,000 bus drivers have been drafted in from all around Italy, and many are not familiar with the local roads. In addition, organizers have had to scramble to find accommodation for the drivers near the bus depots.

Rogge rejected suggestions that Turin had left things too late.

"What is important is that the fundamentals are very good," he said. "There is no structural issue. There is nothing that cannot be solved in a matter of days. I'm confident everything will be done by the opening ceremony."

Castellani expressed confidence that the Olympic torch relay — which has been hounded by various protests — would proceed smoothly the rest of the week. On Sunday, the relay diverted its route in a northern valley due to demonstrations opposed to a high-speed rail link.

"Someone lost an occasion to celebrate with us," Castellani said. "I don't feel you should use such a symbolic occasion in this way."

So far Ahn has played just 49 minutes in two substitute appearances for Duisburg, third from bottom of the Bundesliga, but manager Jurgen Kohler is confident the striker will be a success.

"At Metz Ahn played out of position," Kohler explained. "He is best playing as a second striker and I am sure he will score some important goals for us.

"He has impressed me with his athleticism."

With the World Cup finals beginning on June 9 Ahn will be keen to impress and have the chance to repeat his golden goal heroics four years on.

(AFP via CRI English February 8, 2006)


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