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Coe defends 2012 shooting venue

By James Munro and Ollie Williams

An artist's impression of Olympic shooting at Woolwich Barracks
Woolwich Barracks offers an iconic, but temporary, Olympic backdrop

London 2012 Olympics boss Sebastian Coe says there is "no reason at all" to move the Games' proposed site for shooting from Woolwich Barracks.

The sport's governing body, British Shooting, believes a temporary venue at Woolwich will leave no shooting legacy.

Several thousand people, including GB athletes, have signed a petition asking organisers to reconsider.

But Coe told the BBC he was "determined to leave a legacy" and issues around the venue would be resolved.

British Shooting chairman Philip Boakes has written to every MP in his quest to force the 2012 organising committee to move the venue elsewhere.

Whatever money is spent [at Woolwich Barracks] is a waste

British Shooting chairman Philip Boakes

The existing top British shooting venue, Bisley, and a development in Dartford are the leading alternatives.

"If you're going to spend 25m then for goodness sake do something useful with it," Boakes told BBC Sport.

"Whatever money is spent [at Woolwich Barracks] is a waste of time and will leave no legacy."

Current plans for the venue will see the iconic Royal Artillery Barracks at Woolwich transformed into 50m, 25m and 10m shooting ranges for the duration of the Games.

While it is possible that some smaller air pistol ranges may be kept, the plans call for most of the venue to be dismantled once the Games are over.

Boakes said London 2012 organisers were missing an opportunity to permanently upgrade shooting facilities in the UK.

Lord Sebastian Coe
Lord Coe said legacy may not mean 'bricks and mortar'

"We currently do not have a world class facility in the United Kingdom to train at, and we haven't held an international event for 30 years.

"Currently disciplines like air pistol set up in village halls, there are so few world class facilities throughout the UK in rifle and pistol.

"Bringing them all together at Dartford with a centre of excellence, and an academy, would be fantastic."

Lord Coe dismissed accusations that no lasting legacy would be left.

"I don't accept that," he told the BBC's James Munro.

"We are four-and-a-half years away from the opening ceremony, and we have teams making sure we do scope out a proper legacy.

"I'm determined to leave a legacy in every sport. An important part of that is not simply bricks and mortar, it's about being able to say that more people got engaged in sport.

"Sometimes governing bodies of sports overlook that."

Richard Faulds MBE
Olympic champion Richard Faulds supports Boakes' campaign

Coe added that his team had come under pressure from the International Olympic Committee to site venues closer to the capital.

"Back in early 2004 the IOC were quite critical about how far some of our venues were from London.

"We looked at Bisley for shooting and decided we wanted to bring the sport closer into London.

"These are sports that need accessibility. They're great sports, they have returned a large chunk of our medals, and it is important they are understood and shared by a larger group of young people."

A petition on the 10 Downing Street website, calling on organisers to reconsider the location of the shooting venue, has attracted over seven thousand signatures since mid-December.

Names on the petition include those of Olympic shooters Richard Faulds MBE and Lesley Goddard.


see also
London's 2012 Olympic venues
06 Jul 05 |  London 2012
London 2012 stadium in pictures
07 Nov 07 |  London 2012

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