London 2012 test events were a success without exception, says Coe
Thursday, 10 May 2012
May 10 - London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe has claimed that the testing programme for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, titled the London Prepares series, has been a major success for his Organising Committee with the final test event – the Visa London Disability Athletics Challenge – signalling the end of 42 preparation events.
In less than 12 months, the 42 test events in 28 arenas have seen around 350,000 spectators enjoy world class sport in Olympic and Paralympic venues.
In total, the London Prepares series saw 183 days of competition, spanning all 26 Olympic sports and disciplines and six Paralympic sports, marking the first time ever that Paralympic only test events have taken place.
A 25,000 workforce were involved, including many Games Makers who will volunteer over the summer, while 8,000 elite athletes were given the chance to compete in new, existing and temporary venues.
"We set out to run events which would test the venues, the sporting field of play and our workforce, whilst at the same time allowing members of the public to enjoy world class sport in an Olympic setting," said Coe (pictured above).
"We have done just this and all these events, without exception, have gone well.
"Of course there will be some lessons learned from each event, but we have not had to make any major changes to any of our venues or our plans.
"We are in great shape and on course to stage the world's greatest sporting event."
Over the past six days the final seven test events have taken place, five of which were within the Olympic Park, enabling Park operations, including spectator flows, security and ticketing, to be tested.
The final test events on the Olympic Park saw a British victory for the women's hockey team at the Riverbank Arena, while Australia took the top spot in the Visa Water Polo International.
The Olympic Stadium hosted the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Visa Outdoor Athletics Championships where Ireland's Justine Kinney, a 24-year-old psychology student at Loughborough University, became the first athlete to win a race in the opening heat of the women's 400 metres hurdles with a winning time of 59.79sec.
Despite some challenging weather, all the matches took place at the Eton Manor Wheelchair Tennis International with Dutch stars Robin Ammerlaan and Esther Vergeer clinched the men's and women's singles titles respectively.
At the London Boccia Invitational, Britain won three gold medals in the BC1 and BC2 mixed individual events and the BC3 mixed pairs event, with Greece winning gold in the BC3 mixed individual event and Korea taking gold in the BC1-2 mixed team event.
British athletes Richard Whitehead, Hannah Cockroft and Paul Blake all made history at the Visa London Disability Athletics Challenge by clocking world records in the T42 200m, T34 100m and T36 1500m respectively, while Ireland's Michael McKillop claimed a world record in the T37 1500m.
Outside the Olympic Park, Paralympic archery champions Dani Brown and John Stubbs claimed silver in the women's and men's compound respectively, and Britain's John Cavanagh took bronze in the compound W1 event at the London Para Archery International Tournament which took place at the Royal Artillery Barracks.
At the same venue in late April, the ISSF Shooting World Cup took place, where 808 athletes from 95 countries enjoyed 12 days of competition and produced two equal world records.
The end of April also saw Australia take victory over Britain in the London International Invitational Wheelchair Rugby Tournament while Russia dominated at the FINA Olympic Games Synchronised Swimming qualification event as they won both the teams technical and teams free routines.
The Olympic Park will be closed off at the end of this week as finishing touches are applied to the venues before it is reopened again shortly ahead of the Olympic Opening Ceremony on July 27.