Rio Olympics 2016: Australian athletes' village fears addressed

Rio Olympic village
Teams are housed in tower blocks at the Olympic Village in Rio de Janeiro
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Venue: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Dates: 5-21 August Time in Rio: BST -4
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Australian athletes will move into Rio's Olympic Village on Wednesday after seeing officials make "fantastic progress" in addressing concerns about the state of the accommodation.

The Australian delegation had refused to move in, citing "blocked toilets, leaking pipes and exposed wiring".

But, after speaking to local officials, team boss Kitty Chiller said improvement work was being carried out.

"It looks we will be able to move everybody in on Wednesday," she said.

Rio 2016 spokesman Mario Andrada said 630 people were "working around the clock" to make the village ready for Thursday.

The 31-building $1.5bn (£1.14bn) village has tennis courts, football pitches, seven swimming pools and will house 18,000 athletes and officials at the height of the Games, which start on 5 August, less than two weeks away.

Chiller, the head of Australia's Olympic delegation, had earlier suggested the accommodation "endangered" athletes and alternative accommodation was being arranged for team members arriving over the coming days.

That was despite extra maintenance staff and more than 1,000 cleaners being engaged to fix problems, particularly plumbing issues.

Those concerns were raised with local officials and the International Olympic Committee, but at a news conference on Monday, Chiller said she was now happy the issues would be addressed in time, saying: "The mayor and I have a date on Wednesday for a ceremonial handing over of the keys."

Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes had responded to Australian criticism by saying the village is "more beautiful" than Sydney's for the 2000 Games and that he was about to put "a kangaroo jumping outside" to "make them feel at home".

Has anybody else complained?

London 2012 rowing champion Mahe Drysdale said he was the first athlete to arrive at the Olympic Village and posted this picture on Instagram
London 2012 rowing champion Mahe Drysdale said he was the first athlete to arrive at the Olympic Village and posted this picture on Instagram

The Argentinean Olympic Committee says it will house some of its athletes and officials elsewhere because of problems with electricity, plumbing and finishing in two of the five storeys it had reserved.

There are also reports the Swedish football team has cancelled its stay in the Village.

New Zealand team boss Rob Waddell said he was "disappointed" the Village was not ready, adding "it hasn't been easy", but said with "a bit of hard work", their facilities were ready for the first athletes arrival.

"Our team has had to get stuck in to get the job done," said Waddell.

Italy's Carlo Mornati said his team were hiring labourers, electricians, plumbers and bricklayers to bring the apartments "up to normal conditions as soon as possible".

The British team have had staff in place for several days and a spokesman told Reuters: "We are confident that our accommodation is ready to receive athletes and will be to the highest standards within the village.

"Whilst we have encountered some maintenance difficulties this is not uncommon with new build structures of this type and we have been working hard to overcome them."

And the US Olympic Committee said there were "minor issues," but that it was no different to "every Games".

One of the 3,600 Olympic Village apartments, which will be sold off after the Games for prices up to $700,000 (£530,000)
One of the 3,600 Olympic Village apartments, which will be sold off after the Games for prices up to $700,000 (£530,000)

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