Rio Paralympics 2016: Organizers under fire as athletes forced to clean 'grimy' rooms at Games Village
The organisers of the Rio Paralympics have come under fire as all countries arriving in Rio for the Games have been forced to clean up their rooms themselves at the Games Village and have had to arrange their own transportation to travel around the city after the budget of the Paralympics has been cut short, the Daily Telegraph reported.
With just five days to go for the opening ceremony of the biggest sporting event for athletes with disabilities, the impact of the biggest crisis the Paralympic movement has ever faced is already being felt as athletes from different nationalities began to converge in Brazil.
There are also reports that some of the travel grants which are vital to the participation is yet to be paid by the organisers, and countries which are already in Rio have been forced to pay out of their pockets in the hope that the Rio organising committee will reimburse them.
The cuts in the transport network for the Paralympic Games has also meant that countries are now having to source drivers and vehicles at their own expense, in order to get their athletes and officials around the city.
Lack of basic facilities, budget cut
It has been reported that there have also been instances where the disabled athletes have had to resort to “scrubbing and cleaning” apartments in the Athletes Village, which shows the failure of the organising committee to provide basic facilities just a week-and-a-half since the Olympics finished.
The problems are said to have emerged after several cuts were made to the Paralympics budget. This was announced less than a fortnight ago when Rio 2016 had ran out of money. The President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), Sir Philip Craven, declared, “Never before in the 56-year history of the Paralympic Games have we faced circumstances like this.”
The crisis has ignited fears amongst the Paralympians that they might be treated inferior in comparison to their able-bodied counterparts. Jonnie Peacock who shone at London 2012 for Great Britain in sprinting said that the organisers should be “ashamed” of using Paralympics’ money to fulfil the requirements of the Olympic Games.
It was the British Paralympic Association (BPA) which had first confirmed that they were forced to take remedial action ahead of the arrival of its athletes in Rio. Liam Harbison, the chief executive of Paralympics Ireland, had also spoken about the challenges his team had faced at the Games Village since arriving in Rio.
Harbison said, “We’re pretty much just scrubbing and cleaning the apartments ourselves. There was a rudimentary clean but to get it clean as we expect, we had to do it ourselves.”
Harbison branded the rooms as “dusty and grimy” and said that they “had to give them a good scrub.”
Travel grants not paid for
Harbison’s also said that the six-figure travel grants due to all competing nations by the month of July, has still not been paid by the organisers. He added, “Because of the cutbacks, the organising committee aren’t providing drivers, so I’ve spent the last day or two trying to hire drivers basically to ferry our team all around Rio for the next two weeks.”
There seems to be a loss of trust with the Rio Paralympics organisation, “believe it when the money gets paid.” He continued, “The countries that are here are the ones that are just happy to dip into reserves and would have paid for all flights anyway.”
The organisers have since failed to respond to these claims, while the IPC has said that the travel grants will be paid imminently.