The stunning Copper Box arena will be packed with enthusiastic handball fans during the London 2012 Games, but once the medals have been awarded and the fans have gone home it is destined to play a key role as a community venue for London’s East End.
Post-Games, the Copper Box will be known as the Multi-Use Arena. Around 90 per cent of its use will be dedicated to local communities with the cost of hiring a court the same as the average price of hiring one at a local leisure centre.
The venue will be able to host a full range of sports as it has retractable seating, which will allow the shape of the playing surface to be changed.
The Multi-Use Arena will cater for sports including basketball, handball, badminton, boxing, martial arts, netball, table tennis, wheelchair rugby and volleyball.
Earlier in April this year 1,000 local schoolchildren visited the venue and sampled a variety of activities as part of a series of One Movement festivals run by the East London Business Alliance.
The children, aged between 11 and 19, spent the day trying out up to 13 different sports including handball, table tennis and judo. The aim of the day was not only to introduce the youngsters to the venue but also encourage them to take part in sport on a daily basis.
“I feel like a VIP guest getting in here before the athletes and getting to try out sports at the Copper Box. Really special and something I will never forget,” said Jordan Campbell, 9, from Holy Trinity Primary School.
Muslima Sheikh, 14, from Mulberry School for Girls, also enjoyed testing out the facilities. “I really like the Copper Box. It’s really colourful and different and I’ve never seen an arena like this before with so many different sports to try, from athletics and curling to judo. It is so much fun,” she said.
The arena also impressed 14-year-old Cydney Dell from West Hatch Secondary School. She said: “It’s really big – I didn’t expect the Copper Box to be so big on the inside. It’s really cool to be able to experience what the athletes are going to experience.”
After the Games the Copper Box will also be used for athlete training, international competition and small-to-medium-scale events. A number of sports National Governing Bodies have already expressed their interest in using the Multi-Use Arena.
It is anticipated the Arena, which will also include a health and fitness gym plus studios and a café, will attract around 400,000 visitors a year and will be the only permanent indoor arena retained in the Olympic Park.
The Copper Box is a further example of the London 2012 Games legacy. As the IOC encourages cities to think from the start of the Games bidding process about the legacy that they wish to leave behind, London 2012 has worked hard to ensure that each venue’s legacy has been an integral part of their planning process.
The Copper Box will host handball and modern pentathlon fencing during the Olympic Games and goalball during the Paralympic Games.