The International Olympic Committee urged efforts by South Korean organisers of the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang to complete venues in time for crucial tests to begin next year. 

The IOC’s coordination commission wrapped up its fifth visit to the northeastern city from Tuesday to Thursday to check preparations for the Games. 

The commission head, Gunilla Lindberg, said construction continued to “progress rapidly” but called for “focus” to complete construction of some venues on time.  

“The competition sites remain on schedule for the Games but the organisers need to maintain their focus, as some delivery dates are very close to the start of the test events,” she said in a statement. 

Test events for alpine skiing, freestyle skiing and snowboard are expected to begin early next year. 

“It is important that Pyeongchang 2018 delivers these events successfully… in particular, the first events next February, in order to create a solid basis for its…preparations for the Games,” she said. 

The IOC picked the northeastern ski resort of Pyeongchang as host in 2011, favouring it over Munich and the French Alpine town of Annecy. 

But games preparations have been hit by financial problems and construction delays. 

Concerns have eased this year following a series of sponsorship agreements between the cash-strapped organising committee and major South Korean companies such as Samsung. – Agence France-Presse

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