Team SA at home in Rio
Sascoc praises athletes’ accommodation and facilities
WHILE the Australian Olympic squad has been complaining about the state of the athletes’ village in Rio de Janeiro all week, Team South Africa has given the facility two thumbs up.
Athletes who arrived in Rio on Sunday after a long flight have said they have little to moan about.
The new apartment towers built to house 11 000 athletes and 6 000 coaches opened their doors two weeks ago.
However, the day the village opened, it was marred by controversy when the Australian Olympic delegation refused to move in, labelling the facility “unliveable”.
Instead, they checked into hotels, as did the Argentine delegation, which chose to rent apartments outside the village for some of its athletes.
The Australian delegation also said the towers were “unsafe”. Blocked toilets, leaking pipes, exposed wiring and darkened stairwells were among the problems they cited.
But the South African delegation has, in stark contrast, hailed the Olympic village as “one of the best they’ve stayed in”.
“We have settled in well and are happy with our accommodation. So far our block is fine and we have not encountered any problems,” said Jessica Choga, spokeswoman for the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc).
According to Choga, the village has excellent facilities, which include large en suite apartments (two athletes per room), air conditioning, wifi in every room, reception areas, balconies, swimming pools, kitchen sinks, mosquito pads and fans in all rooms.
The facility also includes a fitness centre, as well as a polyclinic.
Athletes have even been issued 42 condoms each by the IOC for their threeweek stay in the village. The committee has supplied 450 000 condoms to the 10 500 athletes who will be competing.
There is also a variety of food available for South Africa’s athletes to indulge in, according to Choga.
“Different dishes are available to cater for different people’s tastes and there will be an even greater variety of food as teams from other countries arrive.
“At the moment it caters for European, Asian and African tastes,” she said.
Meanwhile, Rio de Janeiro mayor Eduardo Paes has hit back at Australia’s criticism of the athletes’ village by joking about kangaroos.
He also said Rio’s village was nicer than the one in Sydney at the 2000 Olympics.
“As hosts, what we want is for everyone to feel at home. It is natural that you have some kind of adjustments to make, but we will make Australians feel at home here. I almost feel like putting a kangaroo in front of their building to make them feel at home. Adjustments that have to be made will be made and we will have the appropriate infrastructure,” he said.
An example of the accommodation at the Olympic Village in Rio.