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26 Nov, 2012 09:45

Winter Olympics Update: Sochi 2014 construction nearly complete

With just over 14 months to go before the opening ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics, the organizers say they are on track to deliver all the venues, with some works concluded ahead of schedule.

The venues of the coastal cluster of the Sochi Winter Games will soon be put to the ultimate test.

Built from scratch, along with the supporting infrastructure, the Olympic park is now looking more like the final product than ever.

The Iceberg Skating Palace is the next Olympic setting to go on trial when it welcomes the Figure Skating Grand Prix Finale on December 6-9.

The Bolshoi Ice Dome and adjacent Shaiba Arena will host Olympic ice-hockey matches, with the final touches underway at both spots as they also prepare for major international test events in early 2013.“This three-year construction will soon be over,” Murat Ahmadiev, Olimstry's section supervoser, told RT. “Right now, we are in the process of laying down the asphalt and applying the finishing touches. We’ve already got the grass surface here. Inside, we're doing decoration and furnishings. And soon we’ll start comprehensive testing, in other words, testing all the equipment and facilities in the building.”

While the Bolshoi Ice Dome is a permanent structure, the neighboring “Shayba” Arena is a moveable venue and could even be dismantled and transported to another Russian city after the Games.

Meanwhile, it awaits the Under 18 Ice Hockey World Championship in April next year.“The arena is 100 per cent ready to receive hockey players and guests – and host future victories,” Sergey Tutushkin, contractor's representative, said. “All we have to do is turn on all the utilities. So now we're cleaning up and furnishing the place, and then we’ll be ready to open our doors.”

The officials are now putting the final sheen on the Adler Arena as well, which will become home to the speed skaters.

Its first competition is also scheduled for early 2013. However, in its post-Olympic life, it will transform into a trade and exhibition center – something, which is in great demand at the Black Sea resort due to its comfortable year-round climate.

The upcoming test events are hoped to become yet another milestone on Sochi’s path to become the most successful Winter Games ever.