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Spectators to Test Olympic Park at Basketball Event

16 Aug 2011

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1608F04.Basketball-Arena.jpg - 1608F04.Basketball-Arena.jpg

The Basketball Arena is located next to the Athletes' Village in the Olympic Park

BBC

London's Olympic Park will see its first competitive sporting action on Tuesday as the Basketball Arena hosts six of the world's best teams.

The London International Basketball Invitational will test the temporary arena and transport into Olympic Park across six days, reports the BBC.

It will be the first time spectators can watch sport at the 2012 Games site.

The basketball tournament will be joined in the Olympic Park by a BMX World Cup event on Saturday and Sunday.

Spectators are being directed to travel by public transport to Stratford station, before shuttle buses take them from the perimeter of the Olympic Park to the venue.

The 12,000-seater Basketball Arena is one of the largest temporary venues ever used for an Olympics, and during the Games the white exterior of the venue will act as a canvas for "an artistic and innovative lighting design".

It will be dismantled after the Games to be reused elsewhere at other UK and overseas events.

Richard Arnold from the Olympic Delivery Authority said: "There is not a definitive plan yet Rio has shown quite a bit of interest in having the fabric and the structure. All these elements have been developed so they can be reused."

There are only 3,000 tickets available per session for the test event, with three games per day scheduled for 1530 BST, 1800 and 2030. The first four days of competition are already sold out.

NBA star, Luol Deng will be in the Great Britain squad that takes on Australia, China, Croatia, France and Serbia in a round-robin format between Tuesday and Sunday, with Friday a rest day.

The host nation will play France in their opening match at 2030 on Tuesday, but Deng seems set to miss the first three games of the test event because of his commitments at his annual basketball camp in Loughborough.

Deng set the dates of his annual camp not knowing if he would be fully insured during the NBA lockout, and the camp's dates and those of the test event overlapped.

Last year, his insurance only covered competitive matches such as European qualifying ties so there was a strong possibility of him only being covered for EuroBasket.

Great Britain, who last played in an Olympic basketball tournament at the 1948 London Games, are currently preparing for EuroBasket 2011, which begins in Lithuania on 31 August.

British basketball captain, Drew Sullivan believes it is a realistic possibility that Team GB will win a historic medal at London 2012.

"We want to do the very best and make our nation proud when we're representing them," he said.

"Everyone here would love to medal and that's the goal."

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