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After Plumbing, Electrical Problems, Australian Athletes Move into Rio Olympic Village

  • VOA News

A view of one of the blocks of apartments where Australian athletes competing in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games are supposed to stay in the Olympic Village in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 24, 2016.

A view of one of the blocks of apartments where Australian athletes competing in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games are supposed to stay in the Olympic Village in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 24, 2016.

After being unable to move in for several days, the Australian delegation has officially occupied its rooms in Rio de Janeiro's Olympic Athletes Village.

According to local reports, the Australian team had issued an official statement a few days ago over housing conditions and deemed the place "not safe or ready" for athletes. Some of the issues included leaky plumbing, blocked toilets, and exposed wires.

Olympic organizers admitted that some apartments were handed over without appropriate verification of power and water systems.

The head of the Australian Olympic delegation praised the repair progress and said the accommodations are one of the best villages she has been in, once issues are resolved.

"These Olympic games are a marathon not a sprint, and I am sure that there are going to be other hurdles and obstacles that crop up in other areas and it is just a matter of dealing with them as best as we can in good humor," delegation head Kitty Chiller said.

Argentina also had issues at the site. New Zealand and Italy had to call in workers to fix issues in their buildings.

"The workers that were with us today have been absolutely really good. They've been working very hard, they are very skilled and we are very, very happy with the progress," Chiller said Wednesday.

Comment from Rio mayor

Rio's Mayor Eduardo Paes angered many in Brazil after he down played Australia's complaints. Paes had said he would install a kangaroo on the premises to make them feel more at home.

Chiller presented Paes with a small stuffed toy and in return Paes presented the Australian team with the key to the city. Both parties said there were no hard feelings left.

Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes greets Australian athletes during a welcome ceremony he arranged for the delegation at the Olympic village in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 27, 2016.

Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes greets Australian athletes during a welcome ceremony he arranged for the delegation at the Olympic village in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 27, 2016.

Paes apologized for his comments and said after Brazil, Australia would be his second choice team for the games. He also thanked the team for understanding.

Rio spokesman Mario Andrada said 630 people are working "around the clock" so the village can be completed by Thursday.

Thomas Bach, the head of the International Olympic Committee, minimized media concerns about whether or not Rio will be ready for the Summer games.

"The last couple of days before the Olympic Games there is always one issue or other to be solved. The Brazilians will solve it. You can already feel the Olympic energy here. ... We always had confidence in Brazil, in the Brazilians, that it will be a fantastic Olympic Games," Bach said.

The games are scheduled to begin August 5.

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