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5 Feb, 2008 17:17

Sochi to become international destination

The Russian government has finalised the legal framework for the Sochi 2014 Olympics. President Vladimir Putin says the ambition is to make the Black Sea resort an international destination after the games finish.

President Putin has met officials responsible for the preparation of the 2014 Olympics at the Black Sea resort.

He stressed the sports facilities should be built using cutting-edge technology and ecologically safe materials, and urged Sochi to compete with the best winter-sports resorts around the world.
“The projects are really ambitious and large scale even compared to the highest international standards,” Putin said.
He also emphasised that the most important thing is to make sport available to the masses.

“There will be nine big facilities across the country and schools for gifted children who might become our future champions. We are also planning local facilities in 30 regions and if all this is done, we’ll have an excellent platform there for developing sport for everyone, as well as professional sport,” Putin said.

The Governor of the Krasnodar Region, Aleksandr Tkachev, calls this project a political one. To him, Sochi’s Olympics are not only about building facilities, but also about building strong characters.
It is hoped that 2014 Winter Olympics will promote sports among Russian youth.

The 2014 Winter Paralympics will also be hosted by Russia and President Putin said special attention should be paid to the creation of conditions for people with limited physical abilities.

“Unfortunately, Russian cities are not very suitable for such needs. I would like to emphasise that in Sochi we should not only use existing international experience but also improve on it,” Putin added.

The authorities have $US 12 billion to spend and at least 234 venues to build – not only sports facilities, but also hotels, power stations, and infrastructure.

Most experts agree the cost might increase. Some of the facilities might be moved due to environmental concerns, and some of the land needed for construction is privately owned. The local authorities will have to provide compensation.

“Of course, all buildings to be demolished will be bought at the market price, according to the Olympic law. We have created an independent estimate commission and it will offer either money or a new accommodation – it’s up to the owner,” said Krasnodar Region Governor, Aleksandr Tkachev.