Venue for 2012 Olympics is set to complete by summer 2011

The foundations of the handball arena for the 2012 London Olympics are complete, after construction of the venue started two months early.

Two hundred concrete columns have been drilled 25m into the ground to form the foundations. Also, thirteen of the 30 pre-fabricated concrete walls have been lifted into place, to support the upper tiers of the seating.

Work is underway on the 1,000-tonne pre-fabricated steel frame of the arena. It is supposed to be completed by next summer, when work will also have started on the roof and external cladding. A copper layer will be added later in the year.

The venue is planned to be completed by summer 2011. During the Games it will seat up to 7,000 spectators and host qualifying games for the handball competition, as well as modern pentathlon fencing and goalball during the Paralympic Games.

Afterwards, the arena will become a multi-sports venue with retractable seating for about 6,000 spectators and flexible facilities catering for training and competition for indoor sports including basketball, wheelchair basketball, boxing, handball, badminton, judo, netball, futsal and volleyball.

David Higgins, the Olympic Delivery Authority chief executive, said: “We are right on track to deliver a distinctive handball arena that will provide a great experience for competitors and spectators during the Games and offer a new sustainable and flexible facility for local people to enjoy a wide range of sports in legacy.”