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Late Athens swimming pool roof axed

CONSTRUCTION OF the roof for the Olympic Aquatic centre in Athens was scrapped last week, just five months before the Games are due to start.

Organisers feared the roof would not be completed in time for the first event. They have also delayed the swimming test event to enable other vital completion work to take place.

'The timely completion of the roof was not guaranteed and could jeopardise the running of the competitions, ' said Athens Olympic Organising Committee (ATHOC) last week.

Under the original construction programme, the roof would have been ready on 30 July, the same day that athletes were due to arrive for the Olympics.

NCE understands that the swimming pool roof was not part of the original Olympic Aquatic Centre contract, but was introduced recently.

'We were trying to do a good thing - having a roof to make it easier for cameras and broadcasters - but it went wrong, ' said a spokeswoman for the Greek Ministry of Culture.

Several proposals were put forward for the roof design, but no contract had been signed to undertake the work.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has requested that ATHOC reschedule swimming events to the evening or provide adequate shelter for athletes and broadcasters.

Summer temperatures in Athens can reach 43 OC.An IOC spokeswoman said that the situation was 'not ideal' but was the most 'sensible and practical solution'.

The swimming test event, which was due to take place between 18 and 25 April, has now been postponed.

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