Rio 2016 will fast-track infrastructure plans: minister

The next Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 give Brazil a golden opportunity to fast-track its infrastructure projects, the country's deputy sports minister said Monday.

Luis Fernandes said the Games would galvanise projects already in place across South America's largest country as well as in Rio, a city of 6.5 million people which is notorious for its traffic jams.

The plans in Rio include the extension of a metro line to the western Barra da Tijuca district and four express lanes for buses and cars are also under construction.

"The Olympics are an opportunity to invest a huge quantity of funds in infrastructure, an amount that would normally take 15 or 20 years to invest," Fernandes told a press conference in London, the day after the 2012 Games ended.

"The Olympics give us an opportunity to concentrate resources to build this infrastructure a bit sooner."

Fernandes said his government wanted the legacy of Rio 2016 to stretch beyond the physical infrastructure of improved stadia and transport networks to security and education.

"Apart from the physical legacy, there will also be a legacy of a command and control centre for security," the minister said.

"And there is a deficiency in sports infrastructure in schools in our country -- we want to invest a lot in sporting facilities in our schools as part of this Olympics.

"This is why we so enthusiastic about having the Games."

Fernandes said it would be unfair to compare Britain and Brazil on equal terms when it came to staging the Games.

But he said Brazil wanted to learn from Britain when it came to developing a a longer term programme for developing elite sports that stretched beyond 2016.

"Brazil is a developing country and the UK is an old giant of this world -- they had few problems organising the Games," Fernandes said.

"But we have to learn from what Team GB achieved -- it's not just about getting into the top ten medal winners in Rio but about what comes afterwards.

"It will not end in 2016 -- we are trying to establish a further level of development for after the Games."

Britain won 29 golds at the London Games -- its best performance since 1908 -- while Brazil won three golds.

The Mario Filho "Maracana" stadium in Rio de Janeiro, pictured on August 9, is being modernized ahead of the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. The next Olympics in Rio de Janeiro give Brazil a golden opportunity to fast-track its infrastructure projects, the country's deputy sports minister said Monday.

The 2016 Rio Olympic flag is seen hanging from a balcony during a party at Somerset House in London on August 12 to celebrate the handover of the Olympic flag to Rio de Janeiro. The next Olympics give Brazil a golden opportunity to fast-track its infrastructure projects, the country's deputy sports minister said Monday.