Coe downplays talk of transport woes

Wednesday, July 18, 2012    

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LONDON, England (AFP) — London Olympics chief organiser Sebastian Coe yesterday played down talk of transport problems at the Games after a US athlete complained of a nightmare journey across the British capital.

Two-time world 400 metres hurdles champion Kerron Clement said that on the first day of arrivals on Monday, the bus ferrying him and his US teammates from Heathrow Airport to the Athletes' Village had taken four hours.

"I don't think we should get out of proportion some of these issues," Coe told a

press conference at the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London.

"We had a tweet yesterday talking about a four-hour delay when it was actually two-and-a-half hours. We

had a driver that missed a turning. Well, out of 100

coach journeys that is likely

to happen."

Coe added: "The majority of athletes got in in good shape and on time. When they were met by our village mayor and chief executive they were busily tweeting saying how much they were enjoying village life.

"Getting in from the airport and to the village is important and 98 per cent of those journeys went without any hitch at all yesterday."

Transport has been a major worry for the 2012 host city in the run-up to the Games, which start on July 27,

and there were mixed reactions from athletes arriving on Monday.

Clement tweeted: "Um, so we've been lost on the road for 4hrs. Not a good first impression London... Athletes are sleepy, hungry and need to pee. Could we get to the Olympic Village please."

A spokesman for British Prime Minister David Cameron said that despite having one of the busiest days in its history, the longest queue at passport control at Heathrow was just 25 minutes long on Monday.

"Clearly, people who are part of the Games family and the athletes coming through are able to get through much quicker than that," the spokesman told reporters.

"We put extra resources in place and we are dealing with what is a very challenging period at Heathrow."



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