By Tom Degun

GB_Handball_and_Goalball_teams_try_out_2012_venue_for_first_time_with_local_schoolchildren_09-06-11June 9 - Members of Britain's handball and goalball teams got their first chance to try out the completed Handball Arena in the Olympic Park, the venue where they will be competing during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Pupils of the nearby Gainsborough School, who will be able to use the multi-sport venue when it opens to the public after the 2012 Games, joined the teams for a handball and goalball masterclass and series of enthusiatic exhibition games.

Lynn McCafferty, the GB handball captain, said: "This visit to the Handball Arena is great timing for us as we are currently celebrating our European Championships qualification and looking towards our next international matches.

"Obviously the 2011 season is all geared towards preparations for 2012, so being at the venue where we will compete during the Games is quite significant.

"The girls were so excited to get out onto the court today."

GB goalball star Simon Goodall added: "Having a bespoke venue made for handball and goalball is incredible and I feel it really puts our sport on the map.

"Being on the Olympic Park site amongst the other iconic buildings and courses will draw attention to what we are doing and I'm sure it will generate great interest in the sport."

The 7,000 capacity copper-clad Handball Arena, which features multi-coloured seating and roof-top sunlight pipes, was completed in May and will host the men's and women's handball preliminary stages and modern pentathlon fencing during the Olympics before going on to stage goalball during the Paralympic Games.

London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe said: "With its vibrant, multi-coloured interior and field of play surrounded by spectator seating close to the action, the arena is an exciting venue for handball and the fencing element of modern pentathlon in the Olympic Games, and the goalball for the Paralympic Games.

"There are lots of sessions for handball and goalball in 2012.

"Handball tickets will be available in the second round sales in a few weeks' time and goalball tickets go on sale in September.

"Two million people will get the chance to watch the Paralympic Games."

Gainsborough School head teacher Clare Pike added: "I am delighted that Gainsborough children have been given this wonderful opportunity to visit our closest 2012 venue and see GB handball and goalball in action.

"Having the opportunity to attend a masterclass and learn from the country's top players is inspiring and a real motivator for the joys of collaborating as part of a team and living a healthy and active life.

"The children are excited about the forthcoming Games and eager to share their experiences with friends at school and teach them how to play these sports.

"As one of the closest neighbours, we are also looking forward to the opportunity to use the venue after 2012."

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