UK minister dismisses security concerns

General Olympic Games: London preparations almost over, says Browne

Badminton legend Prakash Padukone has been all praise for the organisational skills of the English. As if to back his words came the announcement from one of the top United Kingdom officials that London was ready to host the Olympic Games.

Striking the right chord: Jeremy Browne, British Minister of State for foreign Affairs, interacts with the media after an  exhibition match with badminton legend Prakash Padukone in Bangalore on Monday. DH Photo

“We are ready to go. We are ready host the event tomorrow,” said Jeremy Browne, MP and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, at the Karnataka Badminton Association on Monday.

“The stadiums have all been completed well in advance. Only temporary arrangements for conducting events like the marathon need to be finished. The Olympics is a big, complicated event to host. I didn’t know that until I became fully involved in it,” added Browne, who was here to run a series of programmes, jointly organised by the British High Commission and the Olympic Gold Quest, to celebrate the London Olympics.

London will host the 30th edition of the mega event from July 27-August 12, the Olympics returning to the English capital after 64 years. The minister exuded the confidence that London would deliver a spectacular Games. “When London won the right to host the 2012 Olympics, we promised to leave a legacy of sport. This Games will be not only about sports but also about celebrating different cultures.

“Millions of people will watch the Games on television and many more will be travelling to London. It’s a global event and it’s not only for the British,” pointed out Browne.
Dismissing security concerns, Browne said his government was leaving no stone unturned to provide fool-proof security at the Games.

Pointing to All England badminton and the Wimbledon tennis championships as proof, Padukone praised the British for their organisational skills. “All England and Wimbledon are well managed sporting events. They are good at organising sporting events,” said Padukone, who won the All England crown in 1980.

Apart from Browne and Padukone, British Deputy High Commissioner Ian Felton and Olympian U Vimal Kumar were also present. Bangalore International School students performed the Olympic song and message before former player Vimal showed the youngsters the basics of badminton.

Browne then played badminton with Padukone. “He continues to inspire sports players of all ages with his leadership, dedication and his world-class academy.  I am honoured to have the chance to play against a champion such as Prakash Padukone,” Browne said.
The event will move to Chennai and then to Hyderabad before winding up in New Delhi.

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