Builders start work on Redbridge’s London 2012 legacy

AN OPEN-air game of badminton has marked the start of the building of Redbridge’s sporting future.

Workmen rolled into the site of Redbridge Sports and Leisure Centre, Forest Road, Barkingside, this afternoon to lay the foundations of what is being hailed an Olympic legacy for the borough.

The new badminton and netball hall – which will have 12 courts with retractable, tiered seating and a viewing gallery along with a two-storey accommodation block – will be used by London 2012 competitors.

Today, Kier Eastern, which is building the �5.5million structure, oversaw a game of badminton between members of the sport centre’s badminton team where the arena will be when it is completed in December.

Centre chairman John Hill said: “These investments are all about legacy – what the Games will leave behind for future generations in east London.”

The sports centre itself will be upgraded to accommodate wrestling and judo, and athletes from those sports will train there during the Games.

Twelve outdoor refurbished floodlit tennis and netball courts will also be installed.

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The venues are expected to be off limits to be public for about six weeks during July and August 2012.

The sport centre’s badminton development officer, Pat Ormes, said: “We have literally outgrown our present hall and relish the idea of at least being able to grow and expand our programme to its fullest potential.”

The main sports centre will also host athletes preparing for the Paralympic sport of goalball while Olympic and Paralympic cyclists will be able to use Redbridge Cycling Centre, Forest Road, Hainault. Old Loughtonians Hockey Club, Luxborough Lane, Chigwell, will host training for Olympic hockey and Paralympic five-a-side and seven-a-side football.

A spokesman for Kier Eastern said the training venue “will not only be a vital resource for our athletes in the lead-up to London 2012, but will also leave a legacy of health, fitness and well-being for the local community”.