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British shooters unhappy with venue for London 2012 Olympics

Britain's shooters are unhappy with the venue for their events at the 2012 London Olympics, saying it will leave no legacy for the sport.

other Updated: Jan 21, 2008 21:24 IST

Britain's shooters are unhappy with the venue for their events at the 2012 London Olympics, saying it will leave no legacy for the sport.

British Shooting chairman Philip Boakes said the 7,500-seat temporary venue at the Royal Artillery Barracks in southeast London would cost more than 25 million pounds (US$48.6 million; euro33.5 million) and will be demolished after the games.

"We will have nothing left for shooting after the end of the Olympics and that is the reason we are so unhappy," Boakes said Monday.

British Shooting wants a gun club in Dartford, a 45-minute drive away from the Olympic Park in London's East End, to be revamped to become a permanent range for all shooting disciplines. "We don't have a world-class venue in the U.K.," Boakes said. "We haven't held an international competition for 30 years because of that fact."

Boakes said the temporary venue would cost 18.5 million pounds (US$35.9 million; euro24.8 million) to build and 4 million pounds (US$7.7 million; euro5.3 million) to demolish, plus value added tax. Boakes has written to all members of the British parliament to try to boost his cause after meetings with London Olympic officials. He first raised objections to the site in November 2005. "Other sports have already had their venues moved, so why not shooting?" Boakes said.

London organizers moved shooting from Bisley _ 72 kilometers (45 miles) away from the Olympic Park _ to the barracks in Woolwich, a 10-minute drive away, during the bid process.

London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe said he wanted the venue, which has been approved by the International Shooting Federation, to be close to the Olympic Park.

"I was determined to make sure that we had participation which had access to young people who would probably not have seen it if it went too far out of London," Coe told the British Broadcasting Corp. "And secondly I wanted the competitors to feel very much more a part of the Olympic spirit than pods some distance outside London."

The London organizing committee, LOCOG, said in a statement it was in detailed discussions with the British military and the local council over a potential long-term shooting legacy at the Royal Artillery Barracks.

"We believe that the site could provide a long term legacy use for the sport and we will make an announcement on the legacy plans once they have been worked though in detail," said LOCOG, which has not published any detailed budget for the shooting venue.