A senior official with the American-led consortium setting up the complex security network for the Athens Olympics promised yesterday that the system will ready before the games open.

The $312 million system consisting of thousands of infrared and high-resolution cameras, radio, communications and computer networks has been delayed past its promised May 28 delivery date.

Some Olympic and international officials have worried the security network will not be ready in time for the Aug. 13-29 games. The system is taking up nearly one quarter of Athens' $1.2 billion security budget for the games.

David Tubbs, senior vice president with the San Diego-based Science Applications International Corp., declined to give a final delivery date for the system.

But he told a two-day conference on homeland and corporate security in Athens that Greek critics should remember the system will serve Athens even after the games finish.

"We and the government are working very hard to make certain that the system is completed, functional and available for use during the Olympics," said Tubbs, who was responsible for overall security at the Salt Lake City Winter Games.

"Everyone is talking about the cost, but everyone has to keep in mind that what we are building right now stays after the Games," Tubbs said.

Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis told the Associated Press the security system will be delivered by the end of June or early July.

Powell Jumps Back In

Long jump world record holder Mike Powell is returning to competition, coming out of retirement to try to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team and the Athens Games.

The 40-year-old Powell announced his return yesterday, three years after his last competition.

Powell came out retirement before, ending a four-year hiatus in 2001 to finish fourth at the U.S. championships. He had a wind-aided jump of 26 feet 7 inches -- nearly 3 feet off his world mark.

Ukrainian Banned

Ukrainian shot putter Vita Pavlysh was stripped of her world indoor title and banned from the sport for life after testing positive for steroids a second time.

Pavlysh tested positive during the world indoor championships in Budapest in March, Ukrainian federation vice president Yuriy Karpiuk said.