Now it’s time to let the Games begin

It’s been a long time coming, but tomorrow night, in a packed London stadium and watched by a worldwide television audience of one billion, the Games of the 30th Olympiad will finally be declared open.

In the seven years since London was awarded these games, beating Paris in the final vote, they have been dogged by controversies over everything from what the final bill would be to the banning of rival commercial products at events.

Politicians and organisers have slapped each other on their collective backs for bringing the Games in under their budget of £9.3billion to the tune of £476million.

Perhaps not much cause for celebration when you remember that the original budget at the time of London’s bid in 2005 was £2.4billion.

That’s a lot of sports equipment and facilities for cash-strapped schools. It’s a lot of swimming pools too, considering that since the Beijing Olympics of four years ago, more than 70 public pools in the UK have been closed.

But it is time to put away the carping and the complaints, for the greatest show on Earth has at last arrived.

And it continues to have the power to inspire us, especially the young, to strive for ever greater achievements in life.

But it will be a crying shame if, after all that, there are not enough pools, running tracks and sports centres to give our children the chance to turn that glorious inspiration into reality.