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Rio Olympic Village 'not ready'

July 25, 2016

The head of the Australian Olympic team has described blocked toilets and exposed wiring at athletes' residences. The lack of preparedness has dealt yet another blow ahead of next month's Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.

A room at the Rio Olympic Village
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/A. Lacerda

Brazil has faced criticism for the state of its Olympic Village, where more than 18,000 athletes and coaching staff will be hosted during the international sporting competition in Rio de Janeiro next month.

Australia's Olympic team on Sunday complained of uninhabitable and unsafe rooms and refused to check in.

"Problems included blocked toilets, leaking pipes, exposed wiring, darkened stairwells where no lighting has been installed and dirty floors in need of a massive clean," said Kitty Chiller, who heads the Australian team.

During a test of the facility involving taps and toilets operating on multiple floors of the new complex, "water came down walls, there was a strong smell of gas in some apartments and there was 'shorting' in the electrical wiring," Chiller added.

"This is my fifth Olympics Games, I have never experienced a village in this lack of state of readiness at this point in time," she said.

New Zealand and the UK team also complained about their accommodation, although the latter has decided to remain at the complex.

Low ticket sales, public apathy, Zika fears

The lack of preparedness at the Olympic Village has dealt another blow to the Rio Summer Games, which is struggling with low ticket sales, public apathy amid a deep recession, fears over the Zika virus and a spike in street crime.

Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes, meanwhile, has tried to dismiss the matter through humor, according to local media reports.

"We are going to make the Australians feel at home here. I'm almost putting a kangaroo out front to jump for them," he said.

He added that the village in Rio was "more beautiful and better" than the one in Sydney, when Australia hosted the 2000 Olympics.

ls/cmk (Reuters, AFP)