Critics wait on the sidelines

PUBLISHED: 18:36 19 August 2009 | UPDATED: 17:04 25 August 2010

AN Olympic warm-up has successfully shown off some of the capital s sporting venues, but will they all be up to scratch come 2012?

AN Olympic warm-up has successfully shown off some of the capital's sporting venues, but will they all be up to scratch come 2012?

Last weekend London hosted three Olympic sports - basketball, triathlon and pentathlon.

At the O2 in Greenwich, Team GB lost 69-79 to Israel at basketball, while Turkey sealed the Game On At The 02 title with a 66-58 victory over Poland.

Hyde Park staged the Dexto Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship and Crystal Palace National Sports Centre hosted the Modern Pentathlon World Championships.

In just three years time, Londoners will have front seats at the 2012 Olympics, yet some communities have expressed opposition to certain sporting trials taking place on their doorstep. Greenwich residents have expressed concern over the use of the park for equestrian events and there has been some opposition to Woolwich hosting shooting heats.

The shooting lobby has urged the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) to reconsider holding shooting events at temporary facilities at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich rather than a permanent site in Dartford.

Philip Boakes, from Sevenoaks, told the Times: "It is a disgrace to spend £25 million on a shooting facility that will be used for six to eight weeks and then ripped down.

"We have had talks and it seems to me that politicians were a little annoyed when we said we have a better venue that can be developed for the same cost and leave a lasting legacy."

The Friends of Greenwich Park have also raised concerns about damage to the grass and trees when the royal park is used for the Olympic equestrian, modern pentathlon and the Paralympic dressage from July to August 2012.

The group and members of other societies are to discuss the plans at Blackheath Halls on Wednesday, September 23, from 7.30pm when senior representatives from LOCOG and the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) will give presentations and answer questions on the plans.

The meeting is part of the feasibility and pre-planning consultations taking place for both sites before final applications are handed in by the end of November.

A decision by Greenwich council is expected by April or May of next year.

As Woolwich would be a temporary structure, the organisers want to build it as late as possible to reduce the cost of maintaining the building.

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