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Coe confident on 2012 countdown

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A year's progress at the Olympic Stadium

London 2012 chief Lord Coe says preparations for the Olympics are ahead of schedule with three years to go before the opening ceremony.

All 10 of the milestones the Olympic Delivery Authority had set for this stage of preparations have been met.

"We are a little bit further ahead of bang on target," said Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee.

"Not only is this project on track but it will actually deliver some extraordinary prizes."

The first time trial of the "Javelin Train", which will ferry spectators from St Pancras to Stratford International Station, took place on Monday with new diving world champion Tom Daley among the passengers on board.

On board the 'Javelin Train'

The journey took six minutes and 45 seconds, 15 seconds quicker than the target of seven minutes.

Lord Coe will then host a tour of the Olympic Park for Olympic and Paralympic athletes past and present, part of a series of events have been organised to mark the start of the three-year countdown.

"I'm blown away every time I walk in to the stadium," Coe told BBC Radio 5 Live.

MEETING LONDON'S MILESTONES
1. Clean/clear Olympic Park
2. Seven bridges complete
3. Power station almost complete
4. Foundations of Olympic Stadium built
5. Foundations of Aquatic Centre
6. Work begun on Velodrome/ media and broadcast centres
7. Work about to start on handball arena
8. Olympic Village plots started
9. Significant progress on transport projects
10. Sailing venue at Weymouth/ Portland finished

"We are on time and we're exactly where we want to be at this stage. It's a big piece of project management and that's why it's so important that we're ahead of schedule."

Organisers claim 37% of the construction work on the Olympic Park site has already been completed.

And Coe, who led London's successful bid for the Games, said: "We have raised more money than any other host city and we are further down the road with our construction and detailed planning.

"Our ability to raise as much money as we have has taken us beyond where any city has been before."

The Olympic Stadium is now starting to take shape, with the outer shell that will support the fabric roof and upper tier of seats already completed.

2012 on time and on budget - Coe

The stadium is on track to be completed by the summer of 2011.

Work on the structure of the Aquatics Centre and its 2,800-tonne wave-like roof is also under way.

London mayor Boris Johnson has also been impressed by the developments in Stratford.

"Nobody visiting the Olympic Park can fail to be blown away by the extraordinary engineering achievement that greets you when you arrive," said Johnson.

"A Herculean effort by everyone on the 2012 project, from the planners to the construction workers, means we are ahead of schedule and on budget.

"I am extremely proud that, even now, the world can witness the immense skills and technical expertise that is transforming a wasteland into a brand new quarter for our great city in breathtaking time."

606: DEBATE
Peter Scrivener - BBC Sport

The man charged with ensuring Team GB hit their medals targets in 2012 has also insisted their preparations are on track.

Peter Keen, director of performance for funding body UK Sport, believes GB can better its haul of 47 medals in Beijing.

"We should surpass Beijing, we are likely to do that," Keen said. "We believe it's possible to do better in both the Olympics and Paralympics, certainly in the medal table and winning more medals across more sports."

Team GB has targeted fourth in the medals table at the Olympics - which is where they finished in Beijing - and second in the Paralympics.

Tour of the Olympic site

Keen says the big challenge will be to improve in the sports which disappointed in Beijing, such as athletics, swimming and judo.

"We know some sports such as cycling achieved incredible things in Beijing but in other sports we could have done a lot better," he said.

"With the next group (of sports) down we have to look at the London factor and what home advantage there is and disadvantages too."

UK Sport is investing £550m of public money into Olympic sport over six years leading up to 2013.

Olympics minister Tessa Jowell has also confirmed the Government are looking to appoint an individual to drive a campaign for more public participation in sport or physical activity in an attempt to ensure the games have a lasting legacy in this country.

The appointment is likely to be a high-profile ex-Olympian such as Sir Steve Redgrave or Dame Kelly Holmes.

"This is a very specific focus on the ambitious targets for getting two million more people playing sport and physically active," said Jowell.

"No country has ever set a target as ambitious as this and we want to drive it as hard as we can. Somebody who is a respected, recognised and loved sportsman or sportswoman is the person we hope can inspire people."



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see also
In pictures: Three years to London 2012
27 Jul 09 |  Olympics
Events mark 2012 Games countdown
24 Jul 09 |  London
In pictures: The Olympic Stadium
26 Jun 09 |  People and Places
London 2012: three years to go
02 Jul 09 |  People and Places
Olympics 'will combat recession'
25 Nov 08 |  London
We won't try to top Beijing - Coe
20 Aug 08 |  London 2012
'No extra money' for London Games
19 Aug 08 |  UK Politics
Sponsors sought to plug 2012 gap
21 Aug 08 |  UK Politics
Success of 2012 Games 'doubted'
14 Aug 08 |  London


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