Greenwich means time for journos and pentathletes

The view of the main arena at Greenwich Park, with its spectacular backdrop

By Philip Barker

Journalists covering the Olympic modern pentathlon and equestrian events in Greenwich Park are set to file stories from the classical surroundings of the library at the National Maritime Museum, after the location was revealed as the venue press centre for 2012.

For the test events which begin next week with eventing, journalists will find themselves in the rather more modern surroundings of Devonport Park hotel and conference centre, where free wireless will be available in the media workroom.

A 2,000-seat temporary stand has been built facing towards the National Maritime Museum. This will include 120 press seats. These are not tabled and have no internet connection . Next year, the press will accommodated to the side of the venue. Photographers will be able to access a range of positions but movement between these will be limited.

Some 300 media are accredited for the three-day event which features double Olympic champion Mark Todd of New Zealand and British riders William Fox-Pitt and Pippa Funnell, where the firm going on the cross-country course, after southern England’s spring drought, may yet prove to be an issue for some horses.

Riders will perform their dressage routines on the first day in an arena specially built by the company which provided the track for Usain Bolt’s street runs in Manchester.

The 200 journalists covering the modern pentathlon World Cup the following weekend (July 9-10) could find themselves commuting from Crystal Palace to Greenwich by public transport if they wish to follow the early progress of the competition in fencing and swimming.

As the 2012 venues for fencing and swimming have not been finished, these events are being held at Crystal Palace, but no workroom will be provided at this venue. Although journalists can attend, no media transport will be provided between venues and the prospect of making their way across south-east London by train and bus at the weekend may discourage them.

Finishing touches being put to one of the obstacles on the cross-country course in Greenwich Park

As the Transport for London journey planner page for midday on July 9 shows, there is engineering works planned throughout the weekend. However, with Overground line from Crystal Palace – what used to be called the East London Line – and a bus connection, the journey to Greenwich should theoretically take less than 50min. If anyone is so bold as to try this next weekend, we’d be delighted to hear your experience of the journey, and how long it really takes.

At Greenwich , after their show-jumping phase in the equestrian arena, the competitors will use laser pistols in the run-shoot combined event which brings their competition to a climax.

They’ll actually shoot towards the crowd. Boards will display the target to the shooter, and are transparent from the spectators’ point of view.

The view of the run phase should be unemcumbered by obstacles from the show-jumping phase, which are to be removed before the final race for the medals.

Spectator tickets are at a premium even here. Local residents had priority and the local council claim both events were 10 times oversubscribed within hours.

The accreditation centre for both these events is just inside the Queen Mary’s Gate entrance to Greenwich Park and journalists should bring photographic identification which matches their accreditation application.


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