Spain optimistic about 'critical' problems at Olympic village
(Reuters) - Spanish Olympic team chief Cayetano Cornet is hopeful that "critical" conditions at the Olympic village in Rio will drastically improve in time for the arrival of the bulk of his country's delegation on Friday.
Cornet, who has been at the village with other Spanish athletes since it was officially opened on Sunday, has expressed concerns about the safety of the 31-building complex after encountering plumbing, electrical and cleaning problems.
Cornet, Spain's chef de mission, told Spanish radio station Cadena Cope on Wednesday: "The Olympic village is beautiful but the interior of the buildings present deficiencies that have led to a critical situation.
"It's normal that new buildings have problems. However, the problem is that the number of deficiencies are many."
Several countries have expressed concern about accommodation in the village, but with 10 days to go before the start of the Games, Spanish athletes have been unable to move into their allocated building yet.
"We have a whole building for our delegation but when we arrived, we couldn't use it," Cornet said. "They gave us a few rooms in another building until ours is completed.
"What is most worrying is that there are many apartments that are uninhabitable and are flooded. That raises an alarm because there are apartments that also have electricity issues and that mix (water and electricity) concerns everyone.
"There are apartments in the village that are in a bad condition, others are not as bad and some that are already being used by athletes."
The Australian Olympic Committee has decided to find alternative accommodation for their athletes until the issues are resolved and some others have brought in outside contractors to help complete works.
The Rio organisers have deployed 630 people to work around the clock to ensure that the 3,600 apartments are finished in time.
Cornet added: "They are working very hard to solve the problems. There is a strategy and a plan in place to have everything done by Friday.
"Certain delegations, like the Italian and the Dutch, have found, through their embassy, external technicians to enter the village with the organisers' approval, in order to sort out the problems they have encountered.
"I have noticed a difference from yesterday to today. I believe on Friday things will be in a condition, albeit not ideal, to be able to give accommodation to all the members of our delegation."
(Reporting by Adriana Garcia,; Editing by Neville Dalton)