Indian women sail past Italy; men stumble

Indian women sail past Italy; men stumble

International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice-president John Coates has rowed back on his trenchant criticism of the preparations for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, saying he is certain the city will be able host a "great" event.

The Australian told an Olympic forum in Sydney on Tuesday that Brazil was critically behind schedule in their preparations and the situation was "the worst" he had ever witnessed.

"I want to underline that I still believe that Rio Organising Committee and the people of Brazil can indeed deliver excellent Games in 2016," he said in a statement.

"The IOC, working with our partners in Rio, recently took a number of measures designed to make sure that we can together deliver a great Games, and just as important, a lasting legacy for the people of Rio and Brazil."

Coates, who has made several trips to Rio as part of the coordination commission inspectorate for the Games, said he had been reassured after speaking to his IOC colleague, executive director Gilbert Felli, on Wednesday.

"He has provided me with a positive update of progress and the support and positive response he is receiving from the organising committee," Coates added.

"Time is of the essence but things are moving in the right direction."

The first Games on the South American continent have been plagued by delays, rising costs and bad communication between different levels of the Brazilian government and organisers, prompting criticism from international sports federations.

Coates told delegates on Tuesday that construction had not commenced on some venues, infrastructure was significantly delayed and water quality was also a major concern two years out from the Games.

In his later statement, Coates said the September meeting of the coordination commission would be "critical" but praised the "positive response" of Rio mayor Eduardo Paes and the Games' organisers to his criticism.

"The mayor, Brazilian government and organising committee all have our full support and as I said... there is no plan B," Coates concluded.

"We have to make this happen by working together over the next two years."