By Cathy Wood at Lord's
March 19 - London 2012 has made significant changes to the archery venue at Lord’s Cricket Ground, in order to improve the athlete and spectator experience.
Archers will now shoot from in front of the historic Lord’s Pavilion, over the wicket, towards the Media Centre and Nursery End rather than shooting from the Tavern Stand towards the Warner Stand, which had been the original proposition.
The new direction is east to west rather than north to south.
Archers will shoot over the wicket ensuring it’s protected from any damage.
The new lay-out was announced an event endorsed by England cricket captain Andrew Strauss (pictured).
"It was one of those Eureka moments," says James Bulley, the Director of Venues and Infrastructure, at London 2012, who revealed the changes had bee made over the past six months with the blessing of the governing body, the International Archery Federation.
The changes mean the sloping outfield at Lord’s, which would have created problems for shooters, have been addressed as the new shooting area is located on flatter ground.
In addition two stands, able to seat a maximum of 5,000 spectators, will be placed either side of the shooting range, allowing spectators an intimate experience in keeping with a traditional sporting ampitheatre.
The new trajectory will ensure pictures of the archery event, which will be beamed around the world, will show Lord’s, one of cricket’s most iconic and historic venues, at its very best.
One of London 2012' original aims, when bidding for the Games in 2005, was to create new venues, such as the Olympic Park, Aquatics Centre and Velodrome, alongside existing, world renowned venues, such as Lord’s.
The imminent arrival of the world’s best archers on the hallowed turf of Lord’s, has been welcomed by the MCC and its members who had worried the competition would impact on the wicket and restrict the possibility of Test matches being played at Lord’s in 2012.
"The response has been excellent," says Keith Bradshaw, chief executive of the MCC.
"We have been able to say to members that the playing surface will not be impacted and we’ve worked with LOCOG and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to secure one test match against South Africa in August 2012 and three One Day Internationals."
Alison Williamson, 38, who won bronze at the Athens Olympic Games in 2004 and who has just given up work to concentrate full time on training for London 2012 believes the use of Lord’s to host archery will only be beneficial for the sport.
"It’s a great backdrop and hopefully will get more interest from people who would not normally watch," she says.
"It’s good to broaden people's horizons."
Archery was introduced to the Olympic programme in Paris in 1900 and was one of the only sports open to women.
It was dropped in 1920 and not reintroduced for more than 50 years until Munich in 1972.
In London 2012 there will be four gold medals to contest.
Events will take place from July 27- August 3 2012.
Paralympic archery will take place at the The Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich.