Olympic inspectors 'happy with London's progress'

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The Independent Online

Inspectors for the International Olympic Committee said that they had "no fear" about the state of preparations for the London Games.

At the end of the first official scrutiny of the prep-arations for the 2012 Games, a 17-strong team from the IOC said it was confident it would not encounter the same problems that have dogged Wembley stadium.

Denis Oswald, chairman of the IOC's co-ordination commission, said: "I think the key is to have enough reserve time and contingency plans in case you have some delays, and as London started immediately after 6 July we have no fear the projects would not be ready in time for the test event and the Olympic Games."

Mr Oswald, a Swiss lawyer and former international rower, said he was impressed by London's progress, in contrast to the fiasco of the initial years after Athens won the right to stage the 2004 Olympics.

During a two-day visit, the IOC held meetings with all the senior figures involved in the Olympics preparations and viewed the sites of proposed venues in the Olympics Park and Greenwich Park.

Mr Oswald said the IOC, which views each Games' organising committee as one of its franchises, was not concerned that ambitious plans for a new £75m aquatic centre were under review. Initial proposals for the exterior by the architect Zaha Hadid were deemed too expensive, but the IOC's main concern is that technical specifications regarding competition pools remain unaffected.

Speaking about the overall Games blueprint, he added: "This project is certainly very ambitious and as sports people we really encourage people to be ambitious, but you have to be realistic, there must be a balance between your ambition and your resources.

"London certainly has the resources and the technical ability and we are convinced that they can achieve what they have promised.

"We are encouraged by the momentum that has been maintained since London's early and impressive start last year.

"All the major milestones promised have been delivered and the IOC is proud to assist London in its ambitious project."

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