By Duncan Mackay

September 18 - Badminton has become the latest sport to reject plans by the London 2012 to relocate it for the Olympics to Wembley.


 A proposal to move boxing from the ExCel Arena in Victoria Dock to Wembley was scrapped by the London 2012 Olympic Board yesterday because of the strong opposition from the world governing body AIBA, who claimed it would have put too much stress on the fighters.

The sport's proposed move to Wembley was intended to make room for badminton and rhythmic gymnastics at the ExCel Arena and save £40 million on building a temporary arena to host them which would be demolished after the Games.

But the idea was vetoed by the British Olympic Association (BOA) and now London 2012 are investigating the possibility of moving badminton and rhythmic gymnastics to Wembley instead.

Wembley hosted the All-England Badminton Championships between 1957 and 1993 and is due to stage the 2011 World Championships.

But officials at the Badminton World Federation (BWF) are against it for the Olympics because of the amount of time that players would need to spend travelling from the Athletes Village in East London.

They fear players due to be on court at 9am would need to get up at 5am before travelling across the capital for an hour.

Adrian Christy, Badminton England's chief executive, said: "Everyone knows our intention is to stay in the Olympic Park or be as close to the Park as we possibly can.

"We are not encouraging conversation about using Wembley Arena because we do not believe it is the right arena for us."

The Mayor's office has said £20 million could be be saved if badminton and rhythmic gymnastics were moved, and if shooting was switched from Woolwich Barracks in to Barking.

The Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell (pictured) has proposed a compromise which would see boxing remain at ExCel and shooting at Woolwich while a new permanent facility would be built in Barking, an option she believes would be cheaper and leave a lasting legacy.

A feasibility study has been commissioned and a report is expected within the next few weeks.

Neale Coleman, Johnson's Olympic adviser, said: "I think the Mayor's position is quite clear.

"I don't think he thinks anyone will understand why on earth we would spend tens of millions of pounds on putting up something temporary which will be scrapped after the Games when we have such a good facility as Wembley.

"I don't think the public will understand at a time when everyone knows we need restraint in public spending that we should be spending money unnecessarily on what is already a huge investment programme for the Olympics."

A spokeswoman for London 2012 said: "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."

A spokeswoman for the BOA said: "We are committed to the best personal experience for athletes and to doing what is right for sport while still keeping the games as compact as possible.

"We look forward to examining the detail of the proposals around badminton and rhythmic gymnastics."

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