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Rio Olympics to be held despite Rousseff impeachment, says IOC

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BERLIN: The preparations for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics will not be affected by the Brazilian senate’s vote to put President Dilma Rousseff on trial, the International Olympic Committee said on Thursday.

The first South American city to host the Olympics, has been racing to get ready for the Aug. 5-21 Games — its second global sports event in two years — in the face of political turmoil, health scares and the country’s worst recession since the 1930s.

“Preparations for the Olympic Games have now entered into a very operational phase and issues such as these have much less influence than at other stages of organizing the Olympic Games,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a statement.

“We have seen the great progress being made in Rio de Janeiro and we remain confident about the success of the Olympic Games in August.”

Brazil’s Senate voted on Thursday to put leftist Rousseff on trial. The historic decision follows the recession and a massive corruption scandal that will now confront her successor, centrist Vice President Michel Temer.

Brazil’s first female president, the 68-year-old economist and former Marxist guerrilla is unlikely to be acquitted in a trial that could last as long as six months.

Only days ago, she had welcomed the Olympic flame in the capital Brasilia and marked the start of the nationwide torch relay.

As its economy shrinks after a decade of prosperity, Brazil is fighting an outbreak of the mosquito-borne Zika virus that threatens to keep some athletes and tourists away from Rio.

Federal investigators also told Reuters recently they were probing alleged corruption in Olympic projects. Rio organizers are also facing criticism for the polluted waters of the venues that will host sailing and open-water swimming events among other things.

The IOC has supported the Brazilian organizers in their efforts and said they would deliver on their promises of successful maiden South American Games.

“The Brazilian people will deliver a memorable Olympic Games full of passion for sport for which they are world renowned,” Bach said.

“It will be a moment for Brazil to show to the world its determination to overcome the present crisis. These will be Brazil’s Games.”

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