PARIS: The chief organiser of the Paris Olympics announced the release of new tickets on Wednesday, while reassuring that everything was on track for “spectacular” Games in just over 100 days.

“Next week, on April 17 at 10am, we will put 250,000 new tickets on sale for all sports, all price categories and for all competition sites,” Tony Estanguet told reporters, urging interested fans to be “quick” because of high demand.

With the clock ticking down to the opening ceremony on July 26, Estanguet said he was confident that the huge organisational and security challenges faced by the organising committee would be overcome.

“We’re ready. We’re ready for this final straight,” he added. “We’ve built up a lot of confidence and peace of mind.”

He noted that construction work was often “the biggest challenge that poses problems for the organisation of the Games”, but that the Paris 2024 team had taken possession of its facilities on deadline and in some cases ahead of time.

“The timetable has been perfectly respected which is a relief for us,” he said.

He also expressed “confidence” in French security forces who will be responsible for the safety of fans and athletes at a time when France is on its highest warning level for terror attacks.

The opening ceremony being planned on the river Seine — the first time a summer Olympics have started outside the athletics stadium — is set to mobilise 45,000 members of the security forces.

“We want to organise major Games, spectacular Games,” he explained. “We’ve never backed away from this. We’ve always showed audacity.”

The ticket release next week is expected to be one of the last major opportunities to secure seats.

Following criticism of high prices during previous rounds, Estanguet stressed that half of them would be sold for under 100 euros ($108).

A total of 10,000 tickets for gymnastics will be made available, with 15,000 for swimming, 12,000 for tennis and 35,000 for beach volley, which is set to be played in a temporary stadium in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Two-thirds of previous buyers were French, but people from 150 different countries have also secured tickets, according to the organising committee.

The Olympics are set to take place from July 26-Aug 11 followed by the Paralympics from Aug 28-Sept 8.

Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2024

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