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IOC concerned about London Olympic venues

The International Olympic Committee is concerned that organizers of the 2012 London Games have yet to finalize plans for all the sports venues.

The IOC's chief coordinator for the London Games said yesterday that the organizers are making "encouraging progress" overall in their preparations.

But Denis Oswald also voiced worries that a venue has yet to be fixed for badminton and rhythmic gymnastics.

"London has still not yet achieved the final masterplan," said Oswald, who heads the IOC's coordination commission for the London games.

"I have to express the concerns of these two federations that three years before the games, their venue has not yet been finalized," he said. "We are confident that a solution agreeable for all parties will be found. It is urgent that the masterplan regarding all the venues be finalized."

The original idea was that the two sports would share a 40 million pound (US$64 million) temporary venue on Greenwich peninsula. But that has been dropped to save money.

Instead, the sports are being offered the choice of the existing Wembley Arena in north London or a venue in Barking, which does not yet exist and which may be temporary.

London organizers pledged that the problem would be resolved by the end of the year, when the IOC's executive board meets.

"We have married all the other sports to all the other venues," London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe said. "This is not an insolvable problem."

Representatives from the two sports will visit London next week, Coe said.

"We will resolve this by the end of the year."

Coe confirmed that boxing will remain at the ExCel Centre near the main Olympic site in east London. There had been questions about where that sport and shooting would be housed.

Shooting will be held at a military barracks in Greenwich, he said. "We've got a venue and it works."


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