Olympic Village repairs could take all week: Brazil

The Chef de Mission for Australia at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Kitty Chiller, speaks to the press after deciding not to move into the Olympic Village.
The Chef de Mission for Australia at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Kitty Chiller, speaks to the press after deciding not to move into the Olympic Village.PHOTO: AFP

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - Blocked toilets, dangerous wiring and other problems in Rio's Olympic Village will be resolved by the end of the week, Brazilian organisers said Monday (July 25) as new reports emerged of embarrassing glitches.

A day after the Australian Olympic delegation refused to move into the apartment complex in western Rio, Brazilian organising committee spokesman Mario Andrada promised a solution.

"We have 630 men working to fix the problems at the Olympic Village," Andrada said in comments tweeted by the government's Olympic account.

"They should complete the impeccable handover of the Village by the end of the week, probably by Thursday," he said.

This indicated a much longer timetable than suggested by the honorary mayor of the Village, former Brazilian Olympian Janeth Arcain, who said Sunday that the work would take only 48 hours.

Australia said Sunday it was refusing to move into the Village, a development of 31 brand-new buildings next to the Olympic Park which will house some 18,000 athletes and other team members during the Games starting Aug 5.

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

During a test involving taps and toilets being turned on in apartments on several floors, "water came down walls, there was a strong smell of gas in some apartments and there was 'shorting' in the electrical wiring."

Chiller later told reporters: "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 added that, "in our mind, our building is not habitable" and the Australian team would stay in nearby hotels.

Although several delegations have expressed satisfaction with their residence, reports emerged on Monday of new troubles.

The head of Argentina's Olympic committee, Gerardo Werthein, was quoted by Clarin daily saying that out of five floors reserved for the country "two are not habitable" and that his team had sought alternative lodging.

"The apartments are completed on the outside, but when we tested them we found problems with plumbing and electricity," he said.

"Rio said it will finish this, but we can't take any risk."

Italy has contracted its own team of workers to finish off the building work, Brazil has complained of leaks on the ground floor, while Mexico's team has encountered ceiling leaks and blocked drains, Globo news site reported.