Sports & Entertainment
Coe seeks to boost London image after riots
  • | AFP | August 12, 2011 11:37 AM

Sebastian Coe, chairman of the 2012 Olympic organising committee, expressed confidence Thursday that the riots in the capital over the past week will not tarnish the image of next year\'s Games.

Chairman of the 2012 Olympic organising committee Sebastian Coe

"I have spoken to some of the world leaders of sport over the last couple of days, including the President of the IOC, and that\'s not the view they take," said Coe, while visiting the world badminton championships at Wembley, a test event for the Olympics.

"They know that things from time to time come out of left field in cities," he claimed. "And effectively within two days we had that under control."

But Coe did not dismiss the potential effect of the images of violence and looting which have been seen around the world.

"There are lessons to be learned and over the next year we will continue with our contingency plans, which will deal with all sorts of things including public disorder," he explained.

"I am neither sanguine nor cavalier about the disfiguring images which were beamed around the world. But we have 205 national Olympic committee leaders here at the moment and they have been in a city which has had these challenges."

Coe also reiterated he had full confidence in the security measures planned for next year\'s Games.

"Everything we do at an Olympic Games is underpinned by security. It has been in my lifetime of watching the Games.

"We do security very well and we have helped major sporting events in the past with policing, either officially or unofficially home and abroad. We have a very good record in that.

"We will go into next year with very tight contingency plans which will cover all eventualities."

The former Olympic gold medallist also claimed that the apparent success of the badminton test event -- despite claims from Chinese world champions Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng that Wembley is "dirty" and looks like a "warehouse" -- showed that there need be no damage to the image of the London Olympics abroad.

"We have the leadership of the IOC with us and it is important for them to see that while we have had our challenges in London, these events can go on in an orderly and timely way.

"They recognize that in very difficult circumstances we have managed to deliver what we set out to do. I am happy that we are on time and on track.

"I say it without complacency - we shall absorb what we can from the test events to deliver at the business end of the seven years we will have had."

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