Swimming fans hoping to watch the likes of Michael Phelps and Adam Peaty storm through the water of an Olympic pool have been left disappointed by enormous pillars in their line of sight.

Fans at the Olympics Aquatics Stadium paid full-price tickets for a view so badly blocked that many moved almost as often as the athletes to find better seats, according to reports.

The organising committee for the stadium had been criticised by FINA, the international governing body of swimming and water sports, for allowing four extra pillars inside the building after a hasty re-design.

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And now it has emerged that several fans paid the full-price for what they believed were normal tickets, rather than the half-price amount proposed by the committee, to sit behind columns with screens.

Fans Márcio Benfica and Janaina Ramos bought tickets for seats positioned behind one of the columns at a cost of R$ 260 (£63) for each ticket.

"We only found out when we got here. We came looking for our place, and then we saw that we had this column in front," Mr Benfica told Brazilian news site UOL.com.

"The vision is somewhat impaired in some trials, but gives us reason to stretch a bit," added Ms Ramos, in reference to them craning their necks.

The half-price seats, which have been shown in a video, were supposed to cost R$130 (£31.50) for the finals and R$80 (£19.30) for the preliminaries.

In some stands fans cannot see the starting block and in others the awards podium is hidden, a video taken for news site globo.com shows.

A design change for the stadium in the Barra da Tijuca Olympic Park appears to be at fault, with four unexpected columns making visibility much worse than originally planned.

"To alleviate the problem of impaired vision in parts of the stands, there are scattered screens behind the pillars," explained globoesporte.com - a plan which does not appear to have washed well with ticket-holders.

Simone Gaião, a teacher with a ticket to the swimming races, said she had been unaware of her seat's restricted view.

"I did not know. It was not pleasant," she said. Her friend added that they moved to some of the numerous vacant seats inside the stadium.

The many empty chairs at the preliminaries will not have pleased the organising committee, which had initially justified the loss of revenue from selling half-price tickets by saying swimming events were some of the most sold-out at the Rio Games.

News site UOL contested that claim, saying: "However, it was possible to see many unfilled spaces on the first night of evidence - and not just in the areas that are behind columns."

The Independent has approached FINA and the Organising Committees for the Olympic Games for comment.

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