Blocked toilets and exposed wiring among reasons why Australia refuses to use Olympic village

Blocked toilets and exposed wiring among reasons why Australia refuses to use Olympic village
File photo of a room in the Olympic village.

Australia's team bosses have refused to move staff or athletes into the Olympic Village in Rio after claiming the buildings are dangerous and uninhabitable.

The opening ceremony in Rio is just 12 days away and Australia's team staff were scheduled to have moved into their Olympic base last Thursday to prepare for next week's arrival of the athletes.

But those currently in Brazil have been forced to stay in nearby hotels and the Australian Olympic Committee have arranged for their athletes to stay in alternative accommodation after complaining the Olympic Village is "simply not safe or ready".

Australia's chef de mission Kitty Chiller said in a statement they were working with the International Olympic Committee to resolve matters and that Team GB and New Zealand were among other nations experiencing similar problems.

Chiller said: "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 (B23).

"For over a week now Australia Olympic Committee staff have been working long hours to get our section of the village ready for our athletes.

"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.

"In operations areas water has come through the ceiling resulting in large puddles on the floor around cabling and wiring.

"We have raised our concerns on a daily basis with the organising committee and the IOC, especially at the daily chef's meeting.

"We are not alone, our friends from Team GB, New Zealand and others are experiencing the same problems in their accommodation.

"We have been pushing hard for a solution."

Chiller said extra maintenance staff and over 1,000 cleaners had been moved in to fix the faults and clean the village but the plumbing issues had not been resolved.

"(On Saturday) we decided to do a "stress test" where taps and toilets were simultaneously turned on in apartments on several floors to see if the system could cope once the athletes are in-house," Chiller said.

"The system failed. Water came down walls, there was a strong smell of gas in some apartments and there was "shorting" in the electrical wiring.

"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.

"Our staff are continuing to set up as best they can for the arrival of the athletes. For those athletes arriving in the next three days we have made alternative accommodation arrangements.

"We welcome a decision by the IOC to recommend to the Organising Committee that stress tests be carried out throughout the Olympic Village.

"The IOC has recommended 1. A plumbing stress test and 2. A fire safety test.

"Those tests will include all floors, all rooms, all fixtures, sinks, showers and toilets. As well as fire alarms, lighting in stairwells and exits.

"Representatives from National Olympic Committees have been invited to observe the test."

The statement added: "There is much work to be done at the village and we appreciate the efforts of the IOC and the Rio organising committee to "push things along" and solve the problems."

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