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‘Prepare to see the best of Britain’

We have created world class venues, Robertson says

Dancers perform during an arrival ceremony for athletes at the Olympic Village in London
Image Credit: AFP
Dancers perform during an arrival ceremony for athletes at the Olympic Village in London on July 25, 2012.
Gulf News

London: With barely hours left before the London Olympics showcase the best of Great Britain to the world, Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson is a little more than cautiously optimistic that the event will be an unprecedented success.

Speaking to Gulf News in an email interview Robertson, who has been at the centre of many a storm prior to the opening ceremony, said: “For those of you who are coming over for the Games, you will see Britain at its very best.

“London 2012 is a brilliant opportunity for people to see not only top quality sport but also Britain’s other amazing attractions,” he added. “Whatever your interest, be it sport, culture, history, or art, Britain has something for everyone.”

Robertson believes that Britain will have a lot more to gain than just benefits written on paper, carefully propped up by statistics.

“The tourism industry alone is worth £115 billion (Dh654 billion) a year to the UK economy and the Games have the potential to generate a further £1 billion in terms of trade and investment. Let’s not forget that 30,000 jobs were created as a result of the Games.”

Clearly, Robertson’s current perception of what the London Games might leave in their trail is the blueprint for bigger things to come. These plans have been woven into every aspect of the overall thought process by the authorities. “We have created world class sports venues,” he said. “These will now be available for elite and community use, long after the Games have moved on. We want to use the London 2012 Games to inspire a new generation to engage in sport.

“In the next few years the UK will host the 2013 Rugby World Cup; the 2014 Commonwealth Games; the 2019 Cricket World Cup and many other events, which will build on the legacy of 2012 and go on demonstrating the country’s ability in organising world class activities which will bring further economic benefits to our country.”

The only minus that could be foreseen during the period of the Games is the weather. Forecasters have been battling each other with contrasting predictions. This means that some of the more unique venues chosen to attract maximum crowds could find themselves going empty. The beach volleyball competition, for example, is one such example. The competition area has been earmarked to be just outside the Foreign and Commonwealth and very close to Downing Street, the residence of Prime Minister David Cameron. It is believed that on a good day he could perhaps catch a glimpse of the competition from his window.

Brushing it to be just a rumour Robertson said, “I think the stands are going to be too high for the Prime Minister to see it from Downing Street and of course he has a busy job running the country. But it’s wonderful that one of the Olympic events is to be held at such a historic location, in Horse Guards Parade. I don’t think beach volleyball has ever been held at such a unique venue in any previous Olympic Games. So I think it will be an immensely popular event with spectators of all ages.”