Rio de Janeiro, July 26 (IANS) Australia’s Olympic boxers have toured the athletes’ village in Rio and medal contender Shelley Watts has praised the facilities here and the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) for ensuring their safety was prioritised before moving in on Wednesday.
Watts, Daniel Lewis and Jason Whateley were among the first Australian athletes to touch down in Brazil for the Games and were staying in a hotel while they waited for organisers to address chef de mission Kitty Chiller’s demands that the athletes’ village be improved.
Among Chiller’s concerns were plumbing issues and poor lighting on stairwells which she later said she was confident would be rectified by Wednesday.
The boxers were taken into the village, which Watts described as “absolutely amazing”, but not inside their rooms.
“I haven’t had to concern myself with any leakages or anything but walking in there I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. What Rio have done to create the facility is amazing,” Shelley was quoted as saying by adelaidenow.com.au on Tuesday.
“I’m very grateful the AOC took the step to make sure safety was the number one issue for us, so when we do finally come into the village we have no worries or concerns about that. It looks spectacular and I’m really excited walking around it”.
Chiller said Australia was paying for the hotel to accommodate its athletes for now and would also pick up some of the cleaning bill for the work required inside the village to meet its expectations.
The delay in moving into the village has not affected the boxers’ training with Watts and her team-mates set to inspect their training venue in Rio shortly after arrival.
The group has spent the past 10 days in Miami where they were training three times a day.
“We will now get settled and go see where the training venue is and then get back into training as I’m still doing three sessions a day,” Watts said.
“I’m in fine physical (shape) and ready to unleash in the ring.”
Lewis, who has taken time off work in a Sydney quarry to compete in Rio, said it was a dream come true to make his Olympic debut.
“We’ve been working so hard and to finally be here and get in the village is an amazing feeling,” he said.
Whateley said he was feeling physically strong and mentally refreshed as he also prepares for his Games debut.