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Australian Olympic official Kevan Gosper has heaped praise on London’s Olympic preparations saying the transformation of a wasteland in the city’s east is unmatched anywhere in Europe.

Gosper told journalists at the opening of a world press briefing “the regeneration of an industrial wasteland at Stratford is very exciting and will be a lasting legacy for the British people. There has been nothing like it in Europe” he said.

Stratford is the home of the Olympic Stadium, the Olympic Village and eight sporting venues including basketball, swimming, water polo, cycling velodrome, BMX and hockey. The Main Press Centre (MPC) and International Broadcast Centre (IBC) are also part of the complex.

Gosper said London 2012 would be remembered for its iconic venues including tennis at Wimbledon, archery at Lord’s Cricket Ground and beach volleyball at the Horse Guards Parade near Buckingham Palace.

The Chief Executive of the London Organising Committee, Paul Deighton, told the group the Games are ahead of schedule and on budget.

He said many of the venues in the Olympic Park were permanent “for people to use for the next fifty years”. He said the Stratford would be a new London park just like the other great parks in the city”.

Over half of the athletes living in the Village will be able to walk to their competition venues.

After the Games the Village will provide almost three thousand units where people can live in “affordable homes”. People are being encouraged to cycle or walk to the events on special tracks called “greenways”

Gosper said like so many others he was surprised by the achievements of the British athletes at the 2008 Beijing Games which he said was due to the generous funding of the British Government.

He expected the home team to do well in 2012 because “Britain over time had introduced the majority of sports on the Olympic program”.

“It’s not only a city which bailed the IOC out in 1908 and particularly in 1948 so soon after World War II, but it’s a country and a city which has brought sport into the Olympic movement” he said. <–>