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SPORTS
28 Jul 2011
LONDON 2012: OLYMPIC CHIEF PUTS LONDON ON PAR WITH SYDNEY & BEIJING

International Olympic Committee chief Jacques Rogge has put London 2012's readiness for the Games on a par with Sydney 2000 and Beijing 2008.

The Belgian visited London's Olympic sites on a day of festivities to mark exactly one year until the opening ceremony.

"You can't compare cities," Rogge told the BBC when asked whether London was the best prepared city.

"Regarding operation readiness, I'd put it on par with Sydney and Beijing."

Rogge paid particular praise to the Aquatics Centre, which saw Tom Daley take the first dive into the pool.

"I've seen so many venues in my life, but when I came up [to the Aquatics Centre] I had a visual shock, this is unique, state of the art," he added.

But to the London Organising Committee and its chairman Lord Sebastian Coe, Rogge said: "First of all, I tell them - 'no complacency'.

"But Sebastian Coe is a competitor, so he will never allow for any complacency.

"It's all about the delivery of the Games, not just about the preparations.

"I have no worries. I just have a clockwatch and that says to me 27th of July, eight o'clock in the evening, next year, you have to be ready."

The IOC president believes that London 2012's only "major challenge" is to have an efficient transport system in place, although he added that all Olympic hosts cities had been faced with that problem.

However, an issue that has proved to be contentious is the one concerning Olympic Lanes.

The lanes will be on a third of the 109-mile Olympic Route Network [ORN], which will be roadwork-free and cover 1% of the capital's roads.

The ORN will be used by 18,000 athletes and officials during the Olympics as well as 6,000 during the Paralympics.

Transport for London (TfL) admitted the lanes would put greater traffic demands on certain parts of the network during the Olympics.

"The Olympic Lanes, let me tell you that it is less than 10% of the London territory that is affected," said Rogge.

"It is very much needed because, if you don't have Olympic Lanes, the athletes will not be able to perform and will not be able to compete on time."

Source: bbc.co.uk

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