London 2012: LOCOG tests Olympic venues

Hundreds of thousands of people will be going through a variety of Olympic venues over the next few days as organisers do a dry run of the Games.

London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games will be testing every aspect of various venues from ticketing operations, security, mobility services and logistics as well as sport specific checks.

More than 140,000 spectators will get the chance to watch 3,000 athletes take part in Hockey, Wheelchair Tennis Waterpolo, Athletics and Paralympic Athletics.

The jewel in the crown of the venues, the Olympic Stadium, will host the BUCS Visa Outdoor Athletics Championships watched by more than 40,000 people on Saturday night May 5 for the 2012 Hours to Go event which will see the Stadium be officially opened by a member of the audience.

The test of the Stadium is vital if it is to get a safety licence for the 80,000 spectators expected during this summer’s Games.

LOCOG has to satisfy Newham Council that it can manage crowds and that it can meet all safety requirements.

The Riverbank Arena, Eton Manor and the Water Polo Arena will host their first sporting competitions; the Visa International Invitational Hockey Tournament, Eton Manor Wheelchair Tennis International and Visa Water Polo International, where athletes will to help test the field of play, equipment, results, scoring and timing systems and workforce training.

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Seb Coe, LOCOG Chair said: “We are now in the final stages of the testing programme. Testing the Olympic Park and its operations is a hugely important part of our plans.

“Over the last ten months, over 250,000 spectators have watched world-class sport as part of the ‘London Prepares series’ test event programme, and, in doing so, every one of them is helping us deliver the best possible Games this summer.”

Security and the checking of spectators at they enter the venues is another vital aspect that will be tested in the next few days. For many spectators arriving at the Olympic venues, the Games visitors the first welcome they receive on the gate is likely to be from the British Army.

One Hundred and twenty soldiers from The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment are the first to complete their training as the Olympic Venue Security Force. In conjunction with security firm G4S, the soldiers from Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire will be in charge of personnel search, making sure that visitors don’t have anything on them that they shouldn’t have, and ensuring nothing disrupts people’s enjoyment of the Games. They’ve been trained in the use of state of the art airport style security systems including Rapiscan x-ray equipment and handheld metal detectors, as well as general search and observational skills.

For the soldiers who are more used to patrolling the frontline in Helmand Province, these are brand new skills to learn, but their natural enthusiasm and professional approach as well as people skills which have been classed as “second to none” have made them a natural choice for the role, proving once more the natural adaptability of the British soldier.