Hockey vow to keep hold of stadium

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Leyton Orient have been warned they have no chance of hijacking the Olympic Hockey Centre after next year's Games.

The London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) and two of Great Britain's 2012 hockey hopefuls expressed their determination for the sport to retain use of the stadium when it is relocated to Eton Manor after the Paralympics.

Great Britain women's star Alex Danson told Press Association Sport: "Should that stadium go elsewhere, it would be a great loss to hockey and to our legacy. But I'm very confident that we have a very, very strong case."

Orient have indicated an interest in taking over the arena as they look to mitigate what they see as the potentially devastating impact of West Ham becoming tenants at the Olympic Stadium.

Olympic Park Legacy Company chair Baroness Ford has already insisted it is "inconceivable" for the Olympic Park to become home to more than one football club. And hockey is not about to give up its claim on the 3,000-seater stadium that is set to be built for them post-2012.

Speaking after it was announced the 16,000-capacity temporary Olympic Hockey Centre would contain a revolutionary blue pitch, LOCOG head of sport competition and three-time Olympian David Luckes insisted legacy was "tremendously important" when London first decided to bid for the Games.

He added: "I think it's really important to develop hockey in the east end. There is a big community in the east of London that does deserve facilities. We're very pleased that there's this long-term hockey legacy that's going to be developed at Eton Manor. I'm sure that there isn't going to be an issue with Leyton Orient."

Great Britain men's star Jonty Clarke - who believes gold is achievable next year - was equally dismissive of Orient's claim on the site.

Clarke said: "I can't see the Olympic Park Legacy Company letting that happen. I know that England and Great Britain Hockey are very, very passionate about the future of our sport. They see this as a huge opportunity so I think the plans are very well set and I think hockey will have a legacy at Eton Manor.

"Hockey doesn't really have a home right now. We experimented with quite a big stadium in Milton Keynes, which didn't quite work. Having a facility here with 3,000 seats, to enable us to play in front of a home crowd more regularly and at shorter notice, will be fantastic for our sport. With the ability to increase capacity to 15,000 for major events, hopefully watching hockey tournaments will be something that's fairly regular in the future of London."

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