Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting the London 2012 Olympic Park as part of the London Prepares Series to watch the invitational hockey! The weather was grim but it was still a great evening, and a great result for the GB men!
From Reading Station I was able to get to the Olympic Park in less than 1.5 hours and this includes the time I spent perusing through the Westfield Shopping Centre along the way. The journey was simple, 1 direct train and 1 tube change at Oxford Circus to hop onto the Central Line up to Stratford. As soon as I got to Stratford station there was sign-age on the platform to the Park and the Westfield Centre.
In the Westfield Centre there were lots of very well trained Games Makers showing me the way with their big pink foam fingers! once I had crossed the road with the breathtaking stadium in front of me I was able to collect my tickets from the box office and head through the airport style security without any delays. Getting into the Park was hiccup free, and although there will be a lot more queuing during the actual games, ultimately it seemed to be a very well organised operation.
I had no idea of the scale of the park, the area has been completely transformed and it is a good 15 minute walk from security to the Riverbank Arena where they are showing the hockey! There is plenty to see along the way though, I was blown away by the size of the stadium and both the veledrome and the Aquatics Centre really are incredible buildings! There are huge walkways in the Park overlooking the Thames and East London, with picnic areas and food stands along the way, and even during the Test Series there was a real buzz in the air – so I can only imagine what the Olympics will be like!
There was a great atmosphere in the Riverbank Arena and the blue and pink pitch combination is fantastic for watching the play…everything stands out far more than an ordinary pitch! And the hockey itself was brilliant, the first match between the world ranked No1 and No2 teams was very tight towards the end, both teams scoring in the last 5 minutes, but eventually Germany managed to clinch a 3-2 victory against Australia. In the second thrilling match we saw Team GB in action against India, securing a convincing 4-2 victory that will set them in good stead for the series.
For those who haven’t got tickets to any of the events this summer if the opportunity arises the Park itself is well worth a visit, especially during the games because the atmosphere will be incredible! And for those who have got tickets I am very jealous!