Preparations on outdoor Olympic courses almost complete

Final preparations of outdoor courses for events such as cross country skiing and biathlon for the upcoming Nagano Olympic Winter Games have been completed or were nearly finished Monday, Olympic officials said.

Preparations on the cross country course in the ski resort village of Hakuba has been completed, while more than 90 percent of the biathlon course in the village of Nozawa Onsen has been finished, according to the officials.

Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) officials in charge of the preparations said the GSDF's Olympic team of some 1,700 personnel will continue its work at outdoor venues in the lead-up to the games.

The Self-Defense Forces (SDF) team began preparations on venues such as the downhill slope in Hakuba on Jan. 19.

The SDF team has continued with snow conditioning at the outdoor venues in Shiga Kogen in the village of Yamanouchi and Iizuna Kogen in Nagano as well as the village of Nozawa Onsen since operations began last month.

Less than half of the preparations on some of the venues, such as the women's downhill and ski jumping have been completed, but GSDF officials reassured that the preparations are progressing according to plan.

Preparations on the ''kicker'' concave ramps used for aerials in freestyle skiing will begin Tuesday.

(Kyodo News)

(February 2, 1998)