Cameron hails Olympics legacy as cabinet meets at site

 

David Cameron said the 2012 Olympics will bring "a massive legacy" to Britain

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David Cameron has said the 2012 London Olympics will bring "a massive legacy" to Britain, after hosting a cabinet meeting at the site.

The PM's most senior ministers swapped Downing Street for the handball arena at the Olympic Park in east London, to mark 200 days until the Games begin.

Meanwhile the operators for the Aquatics Centre, handball arena and Orbit observation tower were announced.

Mr Cameron praised those who had helped provide venues "on time and on budget".

'Do more exercise'

The Olympics will run from 27 July to 12 August and the Paralympics from 29 August to 9 September.

The operators of six venues have now been secured and organisers say they are confident deals for the remaining two, the stadium and the media centre, will be signed ahead of the opening ceremony.

London 2012 - Begin your journey here

London view

Speaking to reporters at the aquatics centre, Mr Cameron said: "All credit to the people who have been involved in providing these venues, getting them done on time and on budget."

He said the Games would create "a massive legacy", encouraging people across Britain to take up sport and "do more exercise".

"We have spent money and sporting organisations have spent money building great swimming pools in Luton, in the West Country and in Scotland so there are centres like this in other parts of the UK," he said.

"The whole country can benefit from the legacy of the Games because of the inspiration they will bring to people young and old."

'White elephants'

Ahead of the meeting Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that one of the main worries about hosting the Games was ending up with "white elephants" after the event.

"To have got to the situation where six of the eight major facilities now have a proper legacy use is a big milestone and we want to get the other two sorted as well."

Mr Hunt said the fact that the project had been completed on time and to a budget set in 2007 would be good for British business.

Olympic handball arena The handball arena will also host fencing and the Paralympic sport of goalball

The Olympic Park will be home to venues for sports including athletics, water polo, cycling, basketball and hockey.

The main stadium will hold up to 80,000 people.

Details of the new contracts for the three venues are to be set out by the Olympic Park Legacy Company.

It said the new operator of the Aquatics Centre hopes 800,000 people a year will make use of its facilities after the games. The handball arena will become London's third largest site for concerts, shows, exhibitions and sport events.

Ticket problems

The observation tower, the 115m (377ft) ArcelorMittal Orbit, expects to attract up to a million visitors a year.

Last month the Ministry of Defence confirmed that 13,500 military personnel - more than the 10,000 that were deployed to Afghanistan - will be part of the 23,700 security force for the Games.

Meanwhile, the Olympic ticket resale website remains suspended after problems caused London 2012 chiefs to close it on Friday afternoon.

Games organiser Locog said it would reopen once the issues had been fixed - but could not say when that would be.

The main problem appeared to be that the site, run by Ticketmaster, was slow to update sessions which had sold out.

The process was designed to allow people to try to resell their unwanted London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic tickets to others willing to buy them.

Earlier last week it emerged that 10,000 extra tickets - which did not exist - were mistakenly sold for synchronised swimming events.

 

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