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Olympic Park building work 83 per cent complete

Building work at the Olympic Park is now 83 per cent complete, Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson says.

The 7,000-capacity handball arena today became the latest venue to be finished and the basketball venue is nearing completion.

The handball arena, in the west of the Olympic Park, complete with 3,000 square metres of external copper cladding, is where handball, goalball and modern pentathlon will take place during the Games. It is due to become a multi-use sports centre for community use and athlete training after the Games.

The basketball arena, billed as one of the largest temporary venues built for any Games, will stage the basketball, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby and the final stages of the handball competition in front of up to 12,000 spectators.

The public sector funding package for the Games has stayed at £9.298 billion but the estimated costs for the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), in charge of Olympic build and infrastructure, has been cut by £35 million to £7.266 billion.

This is due to a combination of further savings and reducing risks this year, according to the Government Olympic Executive’s Quarterly report on preparations for the London 2012 Games.

In a written ministerial statement Robertson said the ODA had made “strong progress” adding: “We continue to seek value for money and cost savings in our day-to-day running of the project.”

More than 240 British businesses have won contracts for the construction of the 80,000-seat £486 million Olympic Stadium and more than 5,250 people have worked on the project during the last three years.

The last piece of turf on the stadium’s field of play was laid in March and the 6,000-seat velodrome was unveiled in February.

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