Rio 2016: Over Half of Athletes Village Buildings to Pass Safety Tests

تم نشره في Wed 27 July / Jul 2016. 12:00 AM
  • The Olympic and Paralympic Village for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Barra da Tijuca. - (Getty Images)

RIO DE JANEIRO — Less than two weeks ahead of the Olympics, the Rio 2016 organising committee has acknowledged that 19 of the 31 buildings in the Athletes Village have yet to pass safety tests.

With hundreds of athletes turning up by the day, this will add to concerns prompted by gas and water leaks and at least one power outage. The Guardian has also learned that a short circuit caused a small fire on Saturday.

Close to 10% of the competitors have already arrived in Brazil and many are housed in the village, though the shoddy conditions – which include flooded floors, broken elevators, mould and holes in the ceiling – have shocked some team managers, athletes and volunteers.

The organisers promise to resolve the problems by Thursday, but in the interim the Australian team has decided to temporarily rehouse its athletes. The Dutch and Italian teams have also complained and hinted that there may be demands for compensation.

Stress tests – which should have been done months ago – are still less than halfway complete because the 17-storey buildings were delivered behind schedule and the water, gas and electricity were only recently connected.

Although Rio2016 said the faults affected only 5% of the rooms, spokesman Mário Andrada admitted only 12 of the 31 tower blocks have been checked and proved OK.

The Italian team has experienced problems that have obliged it to contract out renovations, the head of mission, Carlo Mornati, told Gazzetta dello Sport. However, Rio 2016 said 630 workers have been deployed to make sure all the glitches are cleared up and checked for safety. “We hope to be finished by the end of business tomorrow night,” Andrada said.

With so much work remaining that will be an immense challenge.

By the opening ceremony on 5 August, the majority of the expected 10,000 athletes are due to be housed in the Athletes Village, which the official website says is the biggest ever at an Olympics. The facilities will include the latest creature comforts, it says: “Athletes staying in the village will be treated like kings. They are, after all, the stars of the show.” But the plans have been knocked awry by a financial downturn and a corruption scandal.

The near-billion-dollar project – also known as Ilha Pura – was built by local property developer Carvalho Hosken and Brazil’s biggest construction firm, Odebrecht. They planned to recoup their investment by selling the apartments for up to 1.5m reais each, but the property market has plunged by 20% over the past year. Earlier this year, Ilha Pura admitted they pre-sold just 240 of the 3,604 apartments – well below forecasts.

The organisers and the Rio city government, however, repeatedly insisted neither the financial downturn nor the scandal would disrupt the delivery of facilities for the Games.

(Huffington Post)