Saturday, November 29, 2008

First venue for Olympics, Paralympics in London 2012 completed

From BBC News in the UK:

The first purpose-built sporting venue for the London 2012 Olympics has been completed with the end of construction at Weymouth & Portland Sailing Academy.

The £15m complex, which will also host the Paralympics events, was bought in under budget and ahead of schedule.

The world-class facility will play host to 400 athletes competing in 10 Olympic sailing categories. National Lottery has raised £375m so far for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, it was announced.

The Olympic Lottery Distributor said it had reached half of the £750m Olympics funding target it intends to raise from sales of specially-designed lottery games.

Ralph Luck, of the Olympic Delivery Authority, will join gold medalist Paul Goodison at the unveiling of the sailing academy later.

The British sailing team's successes at the Beijing Olympics included a haul of six medals, four of them gold.

The early completion of the venue will give Britain's competitors a chance to train "well ahead of 2012", said Lord Coe, who chairs the organising committee.

Paul Goodison, who won gold in the Laser class at Beijing, said: "We save a lot of time travelling around the world when we can get out of bed and it is here on our doorstep.

"It is a fantastic opportunity, not just for myself, but some of the youngsters to see us in 2012 and aspire to 2016."

Councillor Howard Legg, Weymouth and Portland council's special projects portfolio holder, said: "It is ahead of time, on budget and opening today.

"It is great news for the community.

"This is a real local effort, and it is not just people involved with sailing.

"We have hoteliers learning different languages to help welcome people here in their own language."

John Tweed, chief executive of Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, said: "With these enhanced facilities they [sailors] will really be able to hone their skills before the 2012 games.

"It is just a fantastic upgrade to what is already here."

A 656ft (200m) breakwater protects the new facilities with a new pier offering two yacht-lifting cranes and a pontoon providing 70 berths for race boats.

The start of construction, using 70,000 tonnes of Portland stone, was delayed to avoid disrupting the nesting season of over-wintering birds around the local coastline.
National Lottery funding will contribute a total of about £2.2bn to the Games to help fund the east London-based Olympic Stadium, a new velopark, aquatics centre, handball arena and hockey centre.