The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports


Coe confident Olympic ticket sales will be good

Posted: 15 Mar 2011 09:18 PM PDT

LONDON: As Sebastian Coe walked briskly into a glass-fronted office at the headquarters of London's 2012 Olympic Committee on Monday he passed a grainy black and white picture of the standing high jump at the 1908 Games.

Apart from the outdated technique of the athlete in the photograph taken at London's long-gone White City stadium, the other curiosity was the almost complete lack of spectators.

As tickets for London's third Olympic Games went on sale yesterday and a clock in Trafalgar Square began counting down the 500 days before the torch is lit, LOCOG (London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games) chairman Coe is confident that filling seats will not be a problem.

So confident in fact that despite having 6.6 million tickets ranging from £20 (US$32.35) to £2012 to shift in what Coe called the third-largest online proposition of all time, he was urging fans to "take their time".

Fans in Britain and the European Union have a 42-day period in which to visit LOCOG's official ticket website (
www.tickets.london2012.com)
and choose from the 645 separate sessions for the 26 sports at the Games.

One million tickets are also available to overseas fans through their national Olympic associations.

Middle-distance great Coe, known for the smooth acceleration that earned him Olympic golds in Moscow and Los Angeles in 1980 and 1984, said there was no need to sit glued to a laptop on the first day of ticket sales.

"I really hope people don't rush to get their tickets because there's no need to," Coe told Reuters on the 23rd floor of the LOCOG office block that commands views across to the Olympic Stadium and other 2012 venues.

"There is no more statistical chance to get the tickets you want on March 15 than there is on April 26 when the application period closes. The important thing is that people choose the sports, the sessions and the venues they want at their leisure."

Tickets for sessions that are over-subscribed will be allocated by ballot and with 2.5 million tickets priced at £20 or less, and a crack Metropolitan Police team in place to deter fraudsters, Coe is hopeful the seats in the various gleaming venues will be occupied by proper fans.

"Hopefully we'll get the tickets into the hands of the people who really want them at prices they can afford and if you do that they tend to stick in that hand," Coe said.

While tickets to watch Usain Bolt in the 100m will be like gold dust, Coe said he was hopeful that even in tough economic times the public would fork out for sports that normally attract little interest in soccer-saturated Britain.

"The opening ceremony has a life of its own and Usian Bolt will be a huge draw. Personally I've always seen the blue riband event as the 1,500m but we are also a nation of cyclists and swimmers too and there will be interest across the board," he added.

"I think people will just want a ticket to say they were at the Games that hadn't been in their own backyard for 64 years.

"There is more than a possibility the Games will be a sell-out before the opening ceremony."

Describing the ticket website going live as a "major landmark" for LOCOG after five years of planning, Coe remained cautious about the months ahead as venues are fitted out and the test events are scheduled.

"The closest track and field analogy I can give you is we are on the back straight of the last lap," he said. "We are not in the finishing straight or anywhere near there just yet.

"There is a mountain of work to do but what I'm comfortable with is the things that are within our control we have under control. But unexpected things do come at you." — Reuters

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Double delight for national hockey team and their coaches

Posted: 15 Mar 2011 09:16 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: It was a double joy for the men's hockey squad at the national awards ceremony last night.

The team, who won the first-ever silver medal for Malaysia in Asiad hockey in Guangzhou last year, were declared the winners of the best men's team award, edging the football side, who lifted the Suzuki Cup at the Asean championship.

After winning the bronze medal six times, Malaysia qualified for the Asian Games men's hockey final for the first time in history after beating India 4-3 in the semi-finals.

They had gone into the final as the only unbeaten team in the competition with four wins and a draw.

However, Malaysia lost out on an early ticket to the 2012 London Olympics after they were beaten 0-2 by Pakistan in the final.

Malaysia also won a five-nations tournament in France in August last year and each members of the side received RM1,500.

Making it a double celebration for the team were Stephen Van Huizen and Tai Beng Hai, who were announced as the joint winners of the best men's coach award.

Stephen handled the team for the Delhi Commonwealth Games and the Asiad and is now the co-ordinator for coaching for the national senior, Project 2013 and 2017 squads.

Beng Hai, who was the assistant to Stephen last year, is now back as chief coach of the senior side.

The squash quartet of Nicol David, Delia Arnold, Sharon Wee and Low Wee Wern claimed the best women's team award for winning the Asian Games gold medal.

They also retained the bronze medal for Malaysia in the women's world championship in New Zealand last December and each player received RM1,500.

Swimmer Zul Amirul Sidi Abdullah was named the best male paralympian for 2010 for his feat in claiming the men's 50m backstroke bronze medal at the world championships in Holland.

Zul Amirul also triumphed in the discipline at the Asian Paragames in Guangzhou and his efforts earned him RM10,000.

The best female paralympian award went to shuttler Nabilah Ahmad Sharif. She captured the gold medal in the Asian Paragames and he award was worth RM10,000.

Related Story:
Azizul, Nicol are tops again

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