First venue for Olympic Games 2012 unveiled

Organisers of the Olympic Games 2012 have today unveiled the first of many event venues chosen to host events, reports The Telegraph.

The £13 million centre, Lee Valley Regional Park, is set to be officially opened by Princess Anne today, and is situated in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire. It will provide the setting for many of the water-based sports events – primarily the canoe slalom, reports London2012.com. Despite reports that the centre would only be open to Team GB prior to the Games, it has been confirmed that the centre will operate as usual until 2012.

“We will be accepting bookings from international teams, because we’re running the centre as a commercial enterprise,” said a spokesperson for Lee Valley Regional Park. This will provide open access to all those competing in the water-based sports, allowing them to familiarise themselves with the course prior to the actual event – in contrast to the 2008 Beijing Games, where foreigners had limited visitation.

However industry experts are urging British competitors to forget about this and instead concentrate on preparing themselves. The chief executive of the British Canoe Union (BCU), Paul Owen, has said “The reality is that the white-water course offers greater potential for home advantage that any other venue at the Games.”

“The problem is that once you accept that it is open to the public, overseas teams can bowl up as members of the public anyway. The only advantage we have had is that we’ve probably had first dip at the slots. Any country in the world will be able to go along there and say they want to book slots on it.”