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Problems Expected at Pan Am Games

July 28, 2003

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) _ More problems are likely to plague the 17-day Pan American Games, organizing committee president Jose Joaquin Puello Herrera said Monday.

``I ask for forgiveness in advance for any problems that we face during the Pan American Games,″ Herrera said. ``We will be solving the problems as they arise.″

The games, which open Friday, are expected to draw more than 5,000 athletes from 42 countries and will cost about $150 million. For months, they’ve been haunted by delays.

Some facilities are not finished, and workers toiled Monday to get the press center up and running while the accreditation process at the international airport was slow and troublesome.

Several events almost certainly will have their venues switched because the planned arenas or stadiums won’t be ready in time.

The participating countries’ delegates, however, gave a vote of confidence to the organizing committee and promised to unite in efforts to solve any problems.

``We are here, and the important thing is that the celebration of America begins Friday,″ Pan American Sports Organization president Mario Vazquez Rana of Mexico said.

Not everyone was complaining about the facilities on Monday.

Some members of the Puerto Rican team said the athlete’s village was suitable and the air-conditioned rooms were a delight.

``The food in the village is excellent,″ said delegation member Juan Lauro Garcia.

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