London on course for 'outstanding' event

IOC official Denis Oswald says London is ready to welcome the world and that construction on all venues is complete.

     IOC's Denis Oswald (L) says London is ready for the fun and Games to begin [GALLO/GETTY]

    The International Olympic Committee (IOC) praised preparations for the 2012 Summer Games here Friday, declaring London was on track to deliver an "outstanding" event.

    Speaking at the conclusion of the 10th and final IOC co-ordination commission visit to the city, IOC official Denis Oswald said construction on all venues was complete with only a few "refinements" remaining.

    "We still have 119 days to go but I can tell you that London is ready to welcome the world," Oswald told a press briefing in central London.

    "Seven years ago in Singapore the London team presented a very strong Olympic and Paralympic bid and we are very pleased that this vision is becoming a reality and that (London) is preparing an outstanding event."

    Oswald, the chairman of the co-ordination commission, said the myriad of well-attended test events at Olympic venues had demonstrated that London was "feeling the fever of the Games."

    "We have no doubt that this summer will be a summer like no other in Britain," he said.

    "The world expects a lot from London but we know London is ready and that people will not be disappointed."

    Reaching the finish line

    However he urged the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) to maintain their focus in the months left before the July 27-August 12 extravaganza.

    "There is a lot to do still, mainly refinements, mainly details, no major issue," Oswald said.

    "But sometimes the details make the difference.

    "If you are in a race these details might be the few hundredths of a second that make the difference between gold, silver and bronze.

    "So our advice to LOCOG was to say: 'You have done a tremendous job, but remain focused, remain concentrated and you will reach the finish line.'

    "Of course when you have less tickets to sell than the number which is required it's not easy but we are fully confident in what LOCOG is doing"

    Denis Oswald

    "But we are very confident they will do so and we will have an excellent Games this summer."

    Meanwhile Oswald defended the system used to distribute tickets for the Games, where demand has far exceeded supply.

    LOCOG has come under fire for its failure to give precise details for the numbers of tickets available within the UK amid suspicions that allocations for top events have been weighted towards sponsors and corporate hospitality.

    "We are totally satisfied with the way the ticket sale has been run by LOCOG," Oswald said.

    "The situation with the tickets is just a result of the success of the Games. We are pleased that so many peoples are interested in buying tickets.

    "At some Games previously we were worried about empty grandstands. We have a totally different situation here.

    "Of course when you have less tickets to sell than the number which is required it's not easy but we are fully confident in what LOCOG is doing."

    Oswald also said he was confident the transport system used to shuttle athletes and officials to and from venues would work smoothly.

    "All efforts have been made to organise transport in the best possible way," Oswald said.

    "You don't have wide avenues here, it's not Beijing.

    "You can't dedicate lanes just to Olympic traffic and we have to live with that. But given the circumstances and given the geography of the city all efforts have been made to have an efficient transport system."



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