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  • London Latest - NOCs Seek Answers on 2012 Security; Games Transport Website


    (ATR) Representatives of the 200 National Olympic Committees attending a chef de mission seminar in London will on Thursday seek assurances from 2012 organizers on Olympic security arrangements in the wake of rioting that has left a trail of destruction across the city.
    SASCOC CEO Tubby Reddy. (ATR)

    Security is the most important item on the agenda in tomorrow's presentations to NOCs; the four-day seminar ending Friday is covering all functional areas of the Games.

    Tubby Reddy, CEO of the South African Olympic Committee, tells Around the Rings that security is a hot topic of discussion among delegates following three nights of rioting on the streets of London and copycat violence in other English cities.

    "People are a little bit concerned about security given what is going on presently in London," he said.

    "We have to be concerned. One of the questions that comes to my mind is that if they are confident about security measures [for the Games] why would they call off football matches. I am looking for answers."

    A Dutch delegate asked LOCOG about Games security at today's session and was told it would be discussed on Thursday.

    The London riots have already led to the cancellation of England's friendly against the Netherlands originally scheduled for Wednesday night at Wembley. English Premier League chiefs are considering postponing some or all of the opening round of games this weekend because police resources are already stretched in London, Manchester, Birmingham and several other cities that have experienced waves of violence and looting.
    Rioting has spread from Tottenham to the Olympic borough of Hackney. (Getty Images)

    Around 750 people have been arrested and 160 charged since the London rioting began on Saturday.

    LOCOG claimed security was the least of the concerns among NOC officials present at the seminar.

    "Other issues will be more pressing," a spokesman said, pointing to immigration, visas, and accommodation issues.

    LOCOG said the London riots had had no impact on the chef de mission seminar or the IOC project review. Denis Oswald, IOC Coordination Commission chair for London, and IOC Olympic Games executive director Gilbert Felli are conducting one of their regular checks on the city's preparations.

    The streets of the British capital were relatively quiet last night due to the deployment of 10,000 more police officers following three nights of running battles with police.

    The beach volleyball test event was back on schedule Wednesday after a decision was taken to finish early before dark Tuesday  in case of further trouble in the British capital.

    Beach volleyball's Olympic test event is running all week at historic Horse Guards Parade. (Getty Images)
    A LOCOG spokeswoman confirmed to ATR that the marathon swim and road cycling test events on Saturday and Sunday were still on schedule.

    NOC officials participating in the chef de mission seminar today heard from London 2012 CEO Paul Deighton on sports issues. Gilbert Felli, the IOC's Olympic Games executive director, and Gunilla Lindberg, secretary general of the Association of National Olympic Committees, were among other speakers.

    Delegates later toured the Olympic Park venues in east London.

    Games Transport Website Launched

    The Olympic Delivery Authority launched a website Wednesday to help London 2012 ticket holders plot their routes to venues from anywhere in Great Britain - by rail, coach, bus, river or Tube.

    London's creaking transport network remains one of the IOC's chief concerns for the Olympics.
    Games-goers should have plenty of help getting to and from Olympic venues during the Games. (LOCOG)

    The online journey planner and travel pages marks the first time such a comprehensive travel tool has been specifically created for an Olympic and Paralympic Games.

    From early next year, the website will allow users to plan their journeys by car to Games park-and-ride and Blue Badge parking sites.

    The online tool was created in partnership between the ODA, LOCOG, Department for Transport and official Games technology partner ATOS.

    “Getting spectators to events on time and back home again is going to make a huge difference to how people remember the Games in years to come," said LOCOG chair Sebastian Coe.

    "Next summer will be incredibly busy, and as much as possible is being done to make London 2012 a public transport Games. This spectator journey planner will be a really useful tool and help people decide on the best ways of travelling next summer.”

    Among the benefits of the spectator journey planner are: predicted journey times to and from Games venues from anywhere in Great Britain, including an allowance for security checking at venues; predicted walking and cycling time to and from recommended stations to Games venues; links to travel booking sites; and recommended routes to avoid overcrowded stations and sections of line.

    Reported by Mark Bisson

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