By Duncan Mackay

September 17 - Boxing has won its battle to stay in East London for the 2012 Games after international and British officials resisted efforts to move the sport to Wembley Arena.

The plan was effectively dealt a technical KO when a few hours before the London 2012 Board were due to meet this afternoon to discuss the issue the British Olympic Association (BOA), one of the main stakeholders in the Games, said that they opposed the plan to relocate boxing from the ExCel Arena, which is in the Royal Victoria Dock.

The event's proposed move to Wembley was intended to make room for badminton, rhythmic gymnastics and Paralympic volleyball at the ExCel Arena.

But it would also have forced boxing competitors to travel more than 45 minutes across London from the Athletes' Village to compete.

BOA chief executive Andy Hunt said Wembley was an unsuitable venue that caused unnecessarily long journeys.

He said: "Both the national governing body and the international federation did extensive evaluations on Wembley as a possibility.

"I think all parties concluded that for boxing it was not the right solution.

"Boxing want to remain in ExCel, and from the sport's perspective that's what we support."

The London 2012 Board, of which BOA chairman Colin Moynihan is one of four members along with Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell, LOCOG chairman Sebastian Coe and London Mayor Boris Johnson, have now backed down and will instead investigate moving badminton and rhythmic gymnastics to Wembley.

A statement from London 2012 said: "There was a discussion to seek to resolve the outstanding venue location for badminton and rhythmic gymnastics to remove the need to build a £40 million temporary arena in North Greenwich.

"The Board has agreed to a piece of work that explores in more detail the options for badminton and rhythmic gymnastics and we expect a final decision to be made in the coming weeks.

"The decision will be guided by three priorities - value for the public, legacy for communities, the experience for athletes and spectators."

Organisers claim that the issue of travelling to Wembley will not be the same for gymnasts and badminton players as it would have been for boxers because they would not need to make the same number of journeys.

Boxers would have to make regular trips for weigh-ins.

Hunt said the BOA would listen to any proposals for alternatives for badminton and rhythmic gymnastics.

He said: "We want it to be a compact Games, we want the athletes' experience to be right and that's top of the pile as far as we are concerned."

The International Olympic Committee has given London 2012 until the end of the year to finalise their venues, although chief executive Paul Deighton insists the decision will not be rushed.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected].

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