Rio organizers admit to ongoing issues

Rio 2016’s organising committee has admitted it is continuing to meet problems with insufficient food and drink at the venues, long queues to enter the Olympic Park and too many empty seats.

Now into a fourth day of competition, it is clear that the late rush to finish the Games’ basic infrastructure has meant tests were not possible, which has caused “harsh words” between the International Olympic Committee and the local organisers.

Mario Andrada, Rio 2016’s hard-pressed spokesman, confirmed that the IOC had complained about the food and drink situation in some venues on Monday but said “harsh words are how partners sometimes work”.

“Even team-mates on the field of play shout at each other sometimes – it’s a heads-up moment and part of life,” said Andrada.

“The issue is how fast you fix these problems and no event of this size will be trouble-free.”

It is understood, however, that some senior IOC staff are staggered that most of these supply problems were not foreseen, particularly as each host city passes on huge amounts of information to the next one.

Andrada admitted that it had been given lots of advice by London 2012’s organising team on venue-related issues but the problems in Rio were occurring when its system became “stressed” and was usually because of a chain of events triggered by security at the gates holding staff up.

This, though, is why the testing of venues with smaller events in the build-up to the Games is so important.

But there have even been problems at venues well used to hosting big crowds, archery’s Sambodromo home, for example.

The traditional venue for many of the city’s samba carnival parades, it has been almost empty for some sessions as fans with double-header tickets have turned up late or not come at all, and Rio 2016 has been unable to reallocate the seats to local children, as it had hoped.

This was exacerbated on Monday, when the concession stands ran out of refreshments and fans were allowed to leave the venue in search of food and drink.

On a more upbeat note, Andrada did say the more central venues and popular sports are seeing much better crowds than the opening days as ticket sales have improved.

The Rio 2016 website sold 100,000 tickets on Monday, up from a daily average of 10,000 a few weeks ago, and 82 per cent of tickets have now been purchased.

Press Association Sport

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