By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: December 14, 2011 1:25pm
ExCeL: Passed events test with flying colours
The ExCeL in London has been given a resounding thumbs up after staging a host of Olympic and Paralympic test events over the last few weeks.
Seven events took place at ExceL and the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) were delighted with how they went.
The huge venue will house seven events during the Olympics and six during the Paralympics and with it being such a major hub for the Games it was vital that it be thoroughly put through its paces.
LOCOG director of sport Debbie Jevans was delighted with how the ExCeL operated as an Olympic venue and could envisage no problems looking forward to 2012.
"This multi-sport venue is one of the most important and exciting Olympic venues and will be a hub of sporting activity at Games time, accommodating seven sports during the Olympic Games and six during the Paralympics, second only to the Olympic Park," said Jevans.
"The task of hosting so many sports in one venue was put to the test, delivering seven International sporting events over three consecutive weeks, and I'm pleased with the outcomes. We learnt some lessons that will further inform our operational planning for the Games.
Table Tennis, Fencing and boxing took the stage first during the London Prepares series, with British boxer Savannah Marshall, who won the women's event, was delighted.
"It's great to just get the feeling of the Games," she said.
The venue was then turned around, in the exact amount of time as will happen during the Olympics, to accommodate Judo and Taekwondo.
In Judo a larger contest area (10 x 10m as opposed to 8 x 8m) was used, while in Taekwondo personal scoring systems and instant video replay systems were of interest to organisers.
Gold medallist and GB athlete Aaron Cook said of the Taekwondo event: "I am obviously delighted to have won gold. I've had a brilliant day, beating the world champion. It's a massive, great venue and has given us a sample of what the Olympics will be like."
During the final weekend of competition, and after another tight turnaround of the arenas, Weightlifting and Wrestling events took centre stage in ExCeL.
Reece Humphery from the USA who won a bronze medal in the men's freestyle wrestling (60kg) event said of ExCeL: "I love it I love everything about it. I haven't had a chance to see the city because I've been focused on the competition but I'll see the city tonight. This is going to be a perfect arena for the Olympics."
Stephen Newport, LOCOG venue general manager of ExCeL said: "The London Prepares series has been vital for our whole team at ExCeL. Although the venue hosts many major events and conferences, we have had to test our transition of arenas and our teams in our largest temporary venue outside the Olympic Park.
"We will continue to observe large events at ExCeL to look at spectator flow and management, but we are happy with how the test events have run over the past three weeks."
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