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2ND LEAD Olympic accommodation continues to receive mixed reviews By Derek Wilson and Lennart Simonsson

Europe
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Berlin/Stockholm (dpa) - Germany‘s slalom canoeist Sideris Tasiadis has praised the athletes‘ village at the upcoming Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games amid concerns voiced by Swedes and Belarussians that it was not fit for purpose.

"The rooms are fine," the runner-up from London 2012 told the Bild newspaper Tuesday. "Really great."

Some 18,000 athletes, coaches and officials from around the world will live in 3,604 apartments in 31 buildings, looked after by 13,000 employees and volunteers but it appears the quality can vary from block to block.

But Tasiadis may have been left disappointed had the German Olympic Sports Association (DOSB) not taken action into their own hands.

"If our people had not arrive a week ago, with our own workers and great dedication, then we - like other nations - would be in a difficult and perhaps unacceptable situation," DOSB president Alfons Hoermann told dpa.

"Because we had the foresight to take responsibility into our own hands, the athletes do not notice many of the defects and can easily live with some small compromises."

Others who were relying on the hosts to add the finishing touches - or even some basics - to the accommodation have been left with concerns.

"Most of the flats are liveable, but not all, and that is something you would have wished for," Peter Reinebo, head of operations for the Swedish Olympic Committee, told the Stockholm daily Expressen.

"The Olympic athletes‘ village looks really nice from the outside. It‘s all newly built, but not quite finished," he said.

"There are problems with the infrastructure in some of the buildings. Not all flats have hot water and some plumbing still doesn‘t work."

The Belarus National Olympic Committee posted pictures online showing unclean apartments and an apparently blocked shower.

"According to the reports from the Belarusian delegation in Rio, the apartments still lack hot water supply and are short in cold water; sewage system is out of service; floors, windows and ladders need sweep(ing)-up," it said.

Australian Olympic officials had previously prevented their athletes from moving into the official accommodation, citing blocked toilets, leaking pipes and exposed wiring among the many problems.

But the South African delegation also praised the village, saying in a statement late Monday: "Contrary to various media reports that the village is ‘unliveable‘, Team South Africa‘s apartment block is excellent accommodation."

An extra group of more than 500 workers and cleaners, in action round the clock, had been employed to make improvements, much to the relief of Australian chef de mission Kitty Chiller.

"There has been enormous progress made in the last 24 hours," Chiller said, with Australian athletes now hoping to move into the village on Wednesday.

The village boasts a large dining and kitchen area for up to 5,000 people, a state-of-the-art gym, a clinic, a recreation area, a beauty salon, a multi-faith religious centre and seven laundries.

Planned and built by an investor and a construction company, the apartments are to be sold to wealthy residents after the August 5-21 Games.

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