'Blocked toilets, leaking pipes' - Australian team highlight alarming Olympic village issues


The Australian team has delayed its move into the Olympic village in Rio, citing a host of problems including blocked toilets, leaking pipes and dirty floors.

In a highly critical statement on Sunday, Australia's chef de mission, Kitty Chiller, said "the village is simply not safe or ready".

As a result, Australia's staff have been staying in nearby hotels, while alternative accommodation arrangements have been made for athletes due to arrive in the next three days. The Olympic Games begin on August 5.

"Due to a variety of problems in the village, including gas, electricity and plumbing [issues], I have decided that no Australian team member will move into our allocated building," Chiller revealed in a statement on Sunday. "I will reassess the situation this evening. 

"For over a week now AOC [Australian 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.

"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. Extra maintenance staff and over 1,000 cleaners have been engaged to fix the problems and clean the village but the faults, particularly the plumbing issues, have not been resolved.

"Last night [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.

"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."

Chiller added: "We welcome a decision by the IOC [International Olympic Committee] to recommend to the [Rio] organising committee that stress tests be carried out throughout the Olympic village.

"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."