Kiwis resolve early issues, but Aussies are just not Village people

The accommodation at the Games Village was initially not up to scratch for New Zealand, but their advance party sorted out issues before the athletes moved in. Australia hope to begin moving in tomorrow.
The accommodation at the Games Village was initially not up to scratch for New Zealand, but their advance party sorted out issues before the athletes moved in. Australia hope to begin moving in tomorrow. PHOTO: REUTERS
The accommodation at the Games Village was initially not up to scratch for New Zealand, but their advance party sorted out issues before the athletes moved in. Australia hope to begin moving in tomorrow.
PHOTO: REUTERS

RIO DE JANEIRO • New Zealand's Olympic team said they were satisfied with their accommodation for the Rio Games, despite their trans-Tasman Sea neighbours Australia refusing to move in.

The Australian Olympic team initially declined to take up their apartments in the Games Village with chef de mission Kitty Chiller saying the accommodation was "not safe or ready".

The New Zealand chef de mission Rob Waddell said, however, he was happy with the Village, even if the advance team had needed to work with organisers to get it up to standard.

Waddell and his 10-strong advance party arrived in Rio last week and found plumbing and electrical issues, but managed to get them fixed in time.

"We were disappointed the Village wasn't as ready as it might have been when we arrived and it hasn't been easy," the Sydney Olympics rowing champion said.

"Our team has had to get stuck in to get the job done. We're pleased to say that thanks to the New Zealand team's planning, strong relationships and a bit of hard work, we're ready for the first athletes to arrive."

The newly built Village will host more than 18,000 athletes, officials, staff and volunteers in 31 buildings and more than 3,600 apartments over the Aug 5-21 Olympics and Sept 7-18 Paralympics.

Organisers have conceded there have been "teething troubles" and promised that crews would be "working 24 hours a day until the issues are resolved".

Chiller said problems include blocked toilets, leaking pipes, exposed wiring, dirty walls and darkened stairwells where no lighting has been installed.

She claimed that water has come through the ceiling, resulting in large puddles on the floor around cabling and wiring.

"Due to a variety of problems in the Village, including gas, electricity and plumbing, I have decided that no Australian team member will move into our allocated building," she said in a statement.

"We were due to move into the Village on July 21 but we have been living in nearby hotels, because the Village is simply not safe or ready."

The Australians, however, are hoping to move athletes into the Village by tomorrow.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 26, 2016, with the headline 'Kiwis resolve early issues, but Aussies are just not Village people'. Print Edition | Subscribe