Saturday 3 December 2016

Athletes refuse to move into 'unsafe' rooms at the Rio Olympics

Stephen Wade

Published 25/07/2016 | 02:30

View of an athlete's room at the Olympic and Paralympic Village for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo: AFP/Getty
View of an athlete's room at the Olympic and Paralympic Village for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo: AFP/Getty

Australian athletes have refused to move into their rooms at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics after serious plumbing, electrical and cleaning problems were discovered just two weeks before the start of the troubled South American games.

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Kitty Chiller, the head of the Australian delegation, said in a statement team members "will not move into our allocated building" at the Athletes' Village.

This comes as the sprawling 31-building village, which will house 18,000 athletes and officials at the height of the Brazil games, opened officially yesterday with some athletes expected to arrive today.

This is the latest problem for the troubled games, which have been hit by the Zika virus, water pollution and severe budget cuts.

The International Olympic Committee and local organisers held emergency talks yesterday to address the latest crisis.

"We're having plumbing problems, we've got leaking pipes," said Mike Tancred, the spokesman for the Australian team. "We've got electrical problems. We've got cleaning problems. We've got lighting problems in some of the stairwells."

He said more than 20 staff members have been unable to stay in the building, and said the first Australian athletes had been due to arrive today.

Flooding "We did a stress test on Saturday, turned on the taps and flushed the toilets, and water came flooding down the walls," Mr Tancred said.

Ms Chiller listed the same problems, and added more.

"Water came down walls, there was a strong smell of gas in some apartments and there was 'shorting' in the electrical wiring," she said.

"We have been living in nearby hotels because the village is simply not safe or ready."

She said teams from Britain and New Zealand had similar problems, which have been going on for at least a week.

Irish Independent

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