New Zealand athletes content as they move into Rio Olympics village

Gold medal hope Mahe Drysdale is happy with his Olympics accommodation in Rio.
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Gold medal hope Mahe Drysdale is happy with his Olympics accommodation in Rio.

New Zealand's first Olympians have moved into the controversial athletes' village in Rio with few concerns.

Defending single scull champion Mahe Drysdale was among the Kiwi vanguard to arrive and declared satisfaction with what he found.

This comes as the Australian Olympic Committee was reported to be moving their athletes into hotels while issues at their village headquarters, including leaking pipes, blocked toilets and showers, and flooding were fixed.

Drysdale said that apart from a few "finishing touches" he was content with facilities.

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"All is good, few finishing touches still to be made but when you arrive at 5am on opening day you can't expect it to be perfect," Drysdale said in Instagram post.

Drysdale claimed to be the first athlete from any country to enter the village and he'd "taken ownership".

Drysdale, always forthright with his views, was looking forward to checking out the Olympic rowing facilities which have drawn criticism over water quality.

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Last week New Zealand chef de mission Rob Waddell said he was happy to have arrived early with his 10-person set-up team to iron out problems in the village.

They had discovered plumbing and electrical issues at the New Zealand apartment block but had worked hard to quickly remedy those as they set about providing a Kiwi flavour to their HQ.

On Monday Waddell confirmed New Zealand athletes were taking residence after working hard to deliver the apartments on time.

"We have had a focus on building strong relationships and we had decided to make sure we were first into the village as part of our games strategy.

"We were disappointed the village wasn't as ready as it might have been when we arrived and it hasn't been easy. Our team has had to get stuck in to get the job done.

"We're pleased to say that thanks to the New Zealand team's planning, strong relationships and a bit of hard work we're ready for the first athletes to arrive today.  

"Our next phase of set up is to visit the venues as the final overlay is completed and to check out transport and other facilities."

Rowing and the New Zealand women's football team were the first into the village.


The Games open on August 5 and that means a race against time in some areas.

Australian chef de mission Kitty Chiller said the problems at their apartment facility included "blocked toilets, leaking pipes and exposed wiring", with the first Australian athletes to arrive, on July 21, living in hotels due to the state of the village. 

Chiller said some village apartments had water running down the walls and "a strong smell of gas," while stairwells were unlit and floors were in need of a massive clean.

Rio 2016 announced on Monday that there were some delays on village finishing and those athletes whose accommodation was not finished would be placed in the best available accommodation in other buildings. 

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 - Stuff

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