RIO DE JANEIRO – Less than two days after it was deemed ‘unliveable’, the Olympic Village apartment block built to accommodate the Australian team has been given the all clear.
On Sunday, the chief of Australia’s delegation, Kitty Chiller, said there were concerns over the building’s condition including blocked toilets, leaking pipes, faulty wiring and smells of gas.
Plumbers and other workers have seemingly worked around the clock with Chiller already announcing that the hazards had been almost entirely eliminated.
“We are extremely happy with the progress that has been made in the last 24 hours in the village.
“I’m very pleased to announce that as a result of that we will have those athletes arriving today, moving into the village tonight,” she said.
Three of the apartments in the building still have reported issues; however Chiller said she is confident they will be ready in time for the final Australian Olympians to arrive.
“My bags are being moved as we speak,” she said.
The next delegation of 50 Australians were due to touch down on Wednesday (AEST), bringing the total to 62 Olympians.
The Australian teams who arrived earlier to train ahead of next week’s opening games had been staying in alternative hotel accommodation.
The country’s hockey, archery, gymnastics and shooters teams have now relocated to the village and installed giant boxing kangaroo and emu statues in front of the building.
This came after Rio’s mayor Eduardo Paes responded to the Australian’s refusal to enter their accommodation saying he should perhaps put “a kangaroo in front to make them feel more at home.”
Team Media Director Mike Tancred said the mascot statues were unrelated to the mayor’s comments.
“We had the kangaroo and the emu out front of our building in London in 2012 and we have brought them here,” he said.
The Rio organisation has been dealing with a stream of controversy as uncertainty still looms over other accommodation buildings and some of the sporting facilities.
The Belarusian team have relocated to hotels after posting photos of their Olympic village building with dirty showers, no hot water and a faulty sewerage system.
Last week a small fire was also reported in the Dutch team’s building.
On Tuesday it was reported 12 of the 31 buildings had not passed safety tests despite the fact 21 were already inhabited.
Tancred said a stress test run on the Australian building last Saturday had not been successful.
“[We] turned on the taps and flushed the toilets and water came flooding down the walls,” he said.
More than $1 billion has been invested in constructing and maintaining the Olympic Village, with more than 1000 extra cleaners and other workers hired to fix the continuing problems.
Teams have also complained about the training conditions and facilities around Brazil with the Australian sailing team noting waterways were polluted with debris including furniture.
The official games begin next week, with the Opening Ceremony set for the 5th of August.
– Viki Gerova, Correspondent (Oceania)