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London Mayor: London as well prepared as anywhere has been for Games

07-22-2012 23:30 BJT Special Report:2012 London Olympic Games |

LONDON, July 22 (Xinhua) -- London is as well prepared to host the Olympic Games as any city has ever been, according to the city's mayor Boris Johnson.

Speaking to the BBC the day after International Olympic Committee President Jaques Rogge had delivered a positive appraisal of the city's state of preparation less than a week before next Friday's opening ceremony, Johnson continued the upbeat message.

"If you look at what Jacques Rogge had to say last night, he's been in London for a few days, he thinks that our city is as well-prepared as any city in the history of the Games," said Johnson, who brushed off recent predictions of transport chaos and security problems during the event.

"I think possibly what we are going through at the moment as a nation, as a city, is that necessary pre-curtain up moment of psychological self-depression before the excitement begins on Friday," said the Mayor, who added that so far the transport network was coping well.

Johnson was also upbeat about the financial side of the Games, saying that they would be of huge economic benefit to London.

"The heads of most of the world's great businesses are coming to London in the course of the next few weeks and we are going to be showing what London has to offer, making it clear there are fantastic opportunities for investment.... We are going to be selling London."

"The Olympic Games have already been responsible for fantastic investment in this city. Pension funds from across the world are investing in the Olympic sites right now...to say nothing of all the transport investment, which is transforming London. I defy the critics of the Olympics to say that this is not producing economic benefits for the city," he said.

The Mayor highlighted how the Games had captured the imagination of Londoners and said that over 500,000 people had taken to the streets to see the Olympic flame's first day of progress through the capital.

Meanwhile Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt criticized the decision of UK Border Agency staff belonging to the PCS union to strike on Thursday in a move which is expected to cause delays for those flying into London the day before the opening ceremony.

"I find it extraordinary. I mean we've got 600-odd staff who man the immigration terminals at Heathrow, and you've got 60,000 to 70,000 volunteers who are giving their time over the next six weeks, completely free of charge, and you know - they may or may not have a legitimate industrial grievance, but this is surely not the time to pursue it," said Mr Hunt.

Editor:Zhang Jianfeng |Source: Xinhua

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