GOLD COAST, Australia (Reuters) - Commonwealth Games organizers have said they will put more staff on buses to avoid navigational mishaps after the Grenada women’s beach volleyball team was late for their event due to a bungled global positioning system code.
The team were headed to their event at Coolangatta beach in the Gold Coast on Friday but instead were routed to the Anna Meares Velodrome in Brisbane, the venue of the track cycling events some 102 km (63 miles) away.
After the mistake was realized, the bus was turned back and they were given a police escort to ensure they could compete in time. They told local broadcaster Nine network they had only 15 minutes to change and get ready, however.
“We didn’t get sufficient time to warm up, we had to try and stretch and warm up on the bus which was kind of difficult — although we enjoyed (the police escort),” team member Thornia Williams said after their 21-8 21-11 pool round loss to Scotland.
Gold Coast organizing committee CEO Mark Peters said any distraction of athletes caused by their operations was “unacceptable”.
“The bus driver punched in the wrong code and was heading up to Brisbane and the bus was turned around and came back,” he told a media briefing on Saturday.
“The athletes were in the bus longer than they should have been.”
“They actually wanted selfies taken with the police officers before they went in (to the venue) so they were pretty relaxed.
“We spoke to them again last night because this is the worst thing you want as an organizing committee, to have athletes being distracted in any way.
“We are now ensuring that we have two people on the buses, the driver and somebody else to ensure that directionally, that doesn’t happen again.”
Games organizers apologized on Thursday after a major transport failure saw thousands of ticket-holders delayed for hours when trying to get to and from the opening ceremony at Carrara Stadium.
(This version of the story has been refiled to fix Grenadine to Grenada in headline)
Editing by Greg Stutchbury