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IOC Official Warns Athens, 'Time is Getting Short'


After a three-day visit to Athens, a top inspector from the International Olympic Committee says the city has overcome serious delays for next year's Summer Games, but he warned 2004 organizers that "time is getting short."

Denis Oswald said the IOC remains worried about work at the main Olympic complex, known as OAKA, where round-the-clock construction is underway to build a steel and glass roof. IOC officials fear the structure could interfere with vital pre-Olympic test events at the site next year.

Oswald said the schedule for several troubled projects, including new tram and suburban rail systems and the international airport, is tight but they should be ready.

Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, the chief Athens organizer, said work on venues to host table tennis, rhythmic gymnastics, judo and wrestling will be completed in the next few days. Meantime, Oswald confirmed that testing for the designer steroid THG will be carried out at next year's Olympics. He said it will be tested by a new technique and every effort will be made to make sure cheaters will not take part in the Games.

The IOC's next inspection, the last major review before the Athens Olympics, will take place in May.

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