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TV: Ukrainian athletes were preparing for London Olympics in old gyms and without proper food

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July 25, 2012, 3:39 p.m. | Sports — by Interfax-Ukraine

The Ukrainian athletes going to the Olympic Games in London were preparing for the games without proper food and drinking water, a television news team has claimed.
© Ganna Bernyk

The Ukrainian athletes going to the Olympic Games in London were preparing for the games without proper food and drinking water, a television news team has claimed. 

A film crew from the 1+1 channel's Television News Service (TSN) found that the athletes stood in queues in a Soviet-style dining room to take soups and salads on their own. At the training base near Kyiv food spoils quickly, as there are no air conditioners and refrigerators. There are also no shops nearby, and it is prohibited to travel to Kyiv – a violation of the training regime.

"We're given half a liter of not the best water. We're asking them: Where's the water? There will be water... We're not asking them for lobsters. Water!" athlete Yelyzaveta Bryzgina said.

The athletes were told that the state allocates Hr 205 to every Olympic athlete every day, but it is unknown on what this money was spent.

The athletes were provided with a fitness room with a dirty and torn carpet, no mats and dangerous training simulators. There was even a shortage of hurdles. At least ten of them are needed for proper training, but there are only five at the Olympic base.

Multiple world and European champions and Olympic winners use toilets in which the drainage system does not always work, and there's a constant smell of mould and urine.

"Those who could buy mattresses bought them, because your back hurts very much on these ones," a winner of the European cup in athletics, Hanna Melnychenko, told TV reporters.

The base itself, according to TSN, is reminiscent of an abandoned summer camp rather than a hotel for the country's best athletes. The cleaners complain that they wash everything thoroughly, but the equipment is outdated, so they cannot get rid of the stink.

At night, apart from for uncomfortable beds and unclean cushions, the athletes are bothered by mosquitoes.

"It's not very pleasant to live in such filth," decathlete Oleksiy Kasyanov said.

However, First Deputy Head of the State Service of Youth and Sports of Ukraine Serhiy Hluschenko said at a press briefing on Wednesday that preparations for the 2012 Olympics had been financed in full. The preparation of the Olympic team was funded from Ukraine's state budget. About Hr 215 million were allocated in 2011 and over Hr 348 million in 2012. Traditionally, in addition to cash awards, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine also promised to provide apartments to the winners of the 2012 Olympic Games.

He said that the amount of premium to be paid at the Olympic Games in 2012 for Ukrainian athletes had not changed since 2004, with $100,000 to be paid for a gold medal, $75,000 for a silver and $50,000 for a bronze.

A total of 245 athletes will represent Ukraine at the Olympics.

At the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008, the Ukrainian team won 27 medals: seven gold, five silver and 15 bronze medals, and ranked 11th in unofficial team standings. 

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