Read part one here.

Basketball Arena

The 12,000-capacity Basketball Arena is the third-largest venue in the Olympic Park. For the Paralympics, the Basketball Arena has been transformed to host the Wheelchair Basketball and Wheelchair Rugby events before being taken down, with parts expected to be reused or relocated elsewhere in the UK.

Olympic Park

Olympic Park

Olympic Park

BP Pavilion

Olympic Park

The next Andy Murray?

Olympic Park

Olympic Park

Enjoying the Park

Olympic Park

Olympic Park

Olympic Park

Olympic Park

Olympic Park

Olympic Park

Paralympic Village

Olympic Park

Olympic Park

Olympic Park

Water Polo Arena

Olympic Park

Olympic Park

Aquatics Centre

Designed by Iraq-born architect Zaha Hadid, the Aquatics Centre was the last structure to be completed before the Games began.
After the Games, the two temporary wings will be removed while the Centre will be transformed into a leisure facility for local and elite swimmers, complete with creche, family-friendly changing facilities, a cafe and a new public plaza.

Olympic Park

Stratford Gate

The main Olympic Park entrance:

Olympic Park

Olympic Park

Olympic Park

The Orbit and the Olympic Stadium

Olympic Park

Olympic Park

Olympic Park

Olympic Park

Bandstand

Enjoying a bit of music to put an end to this fantastic day at the Paralympics.

Olympic Park

Olympic Park

I spent a few days in London last week and I was thrilled to have tickets for the wheelchair tennis event on Friday and to take part to the Paralympics as a spectator.

Victoria Gate

On my way to the Olympic Park:

IMG_9173

IMG_9175

IMG_9182

IMG_9185

A swift and hassle-free passage through security and here I am.

Olympic Stadium

The 80,000 capacity Olympic Stadium played host to the Olympic and the Paralympic Athletics as well as all the opening and closing ceremonies.

Olympic Stadium

Olympic Stadium

Olympic Stadium and the Orbit

London 2012 Megastore

London 2012 Megastore

McDonalds

World’s largest McDonalds:

McDonalds

Olympic Park musicians

Olympic Park

Following Dutch fans on my way to Eton Manor for the women’s singles finale between Esther Vergeer and Aniek Van Koot

Olympic Park

RUN

RUN

Panasonic 3D Theatre

There were lots of free activities provided by Paralympic sponsors, like the Panasonic Theatre, Samsung booth, Coca Cola Beatbox… but I was there to watch some sports and I’m not a huge fan of lines, so I can’t report on them.

Panasonic 3D Theatre

Coca Cola Beatbox

Coca Cola Beatbox

Park Live

British Airways have sponsored a giant screen perched in the middle of the River Lea. Park Live is the only place to catch up on sport if you’re not inside a venue.

BT Park Live

Mascot House

Mascot House

The Olympic Park is really big, from one end to the other it’s about two kilometres. It took me more than 20 minutes from the Olympic Stadium to Eaton Manor, at the northern end of the park.
For people having trouble getting around, there were stacks of Games Mobility Vehicles parked up, with Games Makers ready to spring into action.

Olympic Park

Basketball Arena

Basketball Arena

Velodrome

Velodrome

Velodrome

Olympic Park

And finally, Eton Manor, where I spent most of the aftenoon watching the women’s singles final and the women’s doubles bronze medal match.

Eton Manor

Eton Manor

Eton Manor

Esther Vergeer vs Aniek Van Koot

Dutch fans

Esther Vergeer

Enjoy more pics and videos of the final between Esther Vergeer and Aniek Van Koot here.

Whereas the tennis world was focused on stormy US Open, I was enjoying a few days in sunny London during the Paralympics.
Wandering round London, it was nearly impossible to avoid the Paralympics.

The Olympic Park

East London has undergone major development in the last few years to transform it into the centrepiece of London 2012.
Most Olympic and Paralympic events took place at the ground-breaking 2.5 square km Olympic Park in Stratford. The most distinctive venues in the Olympic Park are the Olympic Stadium, that played host to the Olympic and the Paralympic Athletics as well as all the opening and closing ceremonies, Zaha Hadid’s Aquatics Centre and the Velodrome, nicknamed the Pringle.

The Olympic Stadium and the Orbit

The Olympic Aquatics Centre

The Orbit and the Olympic Stadium

The Olympic Park from Tennis Buzz on Vimeo.

The Olympic Park has now closed its doors and will remain shut for at least a year while venues are dismantled.
While the fate of the Olympic Stadium remains uncertain, three of the eight sports venues (the temporary basketball, water polo and Riverbank arenas) will disappear.
As for the four remaining venues:
– Zaha Hadid’s Aquatics Centre will shed its wings, reducing the seating capacity from 17500 to 2500. It will host training and competitions and will be open to the public.
– the Velodrome will be the heart of the new Lee Valley Velopark, including the Olympic BMX track and new bike trails, café and hire and workshop facilities.
– the Copper Box, the multi-use arena, will host a myriad of sports as well as concerts and corporate events upon reopening, with a gym, exercise studio and café.
Eton Manor, that hosted the Wheelchair tennis competition will become a permanent home for the Lee Valley Hockey Centre and the Lee Valley Tennis Centre, and is scheduled to host the European Hockey Championships in 2015.

The site will reopen as the Queen Elizabeth II Olympic Park in 2014.

The Games Makers

The purple Games Makers uniforms have become synonymous with the London 2012 Games: thousands of volunteers took to the streets to inform and guide the athletes, officials and fans:

IMG_9120

London 2012 Games Makers

Read More

When is the Paralympic Wheelchair Tennis competition?

1-8 September

Where will the Paralympic Wheelchair Tennis take place?

The Paralympic tennis event will take place at Eton Manor, the only purposed-built London 2012 Paralympic venue.
Situated towards the north end of Olympic Park, Eton Manor features nine competition courts, all designed in striking blue color, and four practice courts. The venue is based on the grounds of the old Eton Manor Sports Club, once a popular community sports facility in the 1990s.

When did Wheelchair Tennis first appear in the Paralympics?

After featuring as an exhibition sport at the Seoul 1988 Paralympic Games, Wheelchair Tennis was introduced as a full medal event at the Barcelona 1992 Games, and has featured at every Games since then.
Quad events have been added in Athens in 2004.

How is Wheelchair Tennis played?

Wheelchair tennis follows the same rules as able-bodied tennis. Except the ball is allowed to bounce twice. The second bounce can be either inside or outside the court boundaries.

How many gold medals are up for grabs?

6. There are six medal events to be contested: men’s and women’s Singles, men’s and women’s Doubles, Quad Singles and Quad Doubles. Quad players have an impairment that affects three or more limbs.

Who are the favorites?

Women: Unbeaten in over 460 singles matches since 2003, Dutch Esther Vergeer is a sure thing for the podium. She bids for her fourth successive singles medal at London 2012. Her toughest competitors will be compatriots Aniek van Koot and Jiske Griffioen, as well as Sabine Ellerbrock from Germany.

Men: The competition is wide open in the men’s event. Shingo Kunieda of Japan could become the first player to win two men’s singles Paralympic titles. But he has plenty of strong challengers. They are headed by world number one Stéphane Houdet of France and Maikel Scheffers and Ronald Vink of the Netherlands.
Young Argentinian Gustavo Fernandez could also cause a surprise.

Quad: This could come down to a duel between two longtime rivals: American David Wagner, who earned a bronze at Beijing and gold at Athens, and Great Britain’s Peter Norfolk – nicknamed The Quadfather – who took the gold in Athens and Beijing.