By Tom Degun in London


November 26 – Plans by London 2012 to move badminton and rhythmic gymnastics to Wembley Arena were today backed by Denis Oswald (pictured), the chairman of the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Coordination Commission.


Originally, the two sports were set to be staged in a temporary venue just minutes away from the Olympic Park but - at a cost of £40 million - that has now been deemed too expensive and Wembley Arena is the favoured alternative though there remain concerns about the length of time it will take athletes to travel from the Olympic Village in East London to Wembley in North West London.


It was a decision that Oswald endorsed as the Coordination Commission completed its fifth visit to the capital to inspect facilities and check that progress for 2012 remained on track.


He said: "In the current world-wide economic crisis, proposals made to use a high quality existing arena [Wembley Stadium] that has recently been refurbished is a lot better than to build a temporary venue at a high cost that will leave no legacy.


"Badminton and rhythmic gymnastics have agreed in principle [to move to Wembley] and we hope the issue will be fully resolved in weeks."


Oswald warned future host cities, including Rio de Janeiro, chosen last month to stage the 2016 Olympics that the IOC's decision to allow London to change its plans did not set a precedent.


He said: "We hope there will not be a global economic crisis every four years.


"These are special circumstances and we know that this is a unique situation for London.


"Due to the time it will take to get the athletes from the Olympic Park to Wembley, athletes will have the option to stay in the Olympic village or to stay in hotels around Wembley.


"They will have a choice."


Paul Deighton, the chief executive of London 2012, has promised officials from badminton and rhythmic gymnastics that ample security will be in place for athletes should they stay in hotels in Wembley outside the Olympic Park.


He said: "The athletes will actually spend a huge amount of their time training and so the main security issue will be around training venues but we ensure that they will have sufficient security around them at all times.


"But obviously, renting a few hotel rooms and hiring security is obviously a lot cheaper than building a brand new temporary venue."


Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]



Related stories

November 2009: Exclusive - Sir Craig backs London 2012 in row with badminton

November 2009: We could not justify temporary venue in this climate says Deighton
October 2009: Exclusive - Badminton and rhythmic gymnastics must move to Wembley says Johnson
October 2009: Badminton and rhythmic gymnastics set for Wembley
October 2009: Johnson and Jowell agree to drop Barking plan in support of Wembley