London – International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief Jacques Rogge gave his final stamp of approval to the London Games on Friday, declaring the city ready to host the sporting extravaganza.
“This morning we had a meeting with Locog and reviewed all the operational items, and I can say with pleasure that London is ready and we are eagerly waiting for the opening ceremony,” Rogge told a press conference.
Seven years of torturous planning and preparations will climax at the 80,000-seater Olympic Stadium on Friday as the Games get under way with an opening ceremony dreamed up by Oscar-winning British director Danny Boyle.
The build-up to the Games has been marked by lingering concern over transport, with an extra 750,000 visitors to the city creating additional pressure on an already congested infrastructure.
However Rogge was confident London's transport plan would be able to cope with the burden, and said he expects to travel by public transport as a matter of course once the Games begin.
“The report I have from the stakeholders on transport is that it is working,” Rogge said. “I have not travelled on the Tube yet but when I move to the Olympic Village I will almost systematically use public transport.”
Rogge meanwhile said he believed London's preparations for the Games were on a par with Sydney in 2000 and Beijing in 2008, but said a final judgement would not be given until the event was over.
“In terms of readiness, these Games equal the readiness of Sydney and Beijing but the proof of the pudding is in the eating,” Rogge said. “Ask me the same question at the closing ceremony press conference.”
Rogge also declined to enter the war of words which erupted on Thursday following US Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney comments which appeared to question London's preparations.
“I will not enter a debate between politicians,” Rogge said. – Sapa-AFP