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Wait needed to assess Games legacy

The full value of hosting the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics cannot be judged for up to 10 years, Sports Minister Hugh Robertson has said.

He told a packed international press conference at London's City Hall marking the first anniversary since the Games: "I do not think the full benefits can be seen until at least three or five or probably 10 years after you have hosted the Games."

A series of major events in the sports calendar - such as stages of the 2014 Tour de France, the 2015 Rugby World Cup and the World Athletics Championships in 2017 - are now on their way to Britain.

The impact on sport from hosting the Games is "already extraordinary and compelling", he suggested, adding: "We are the first host nation who has ever increased funding for Olympic and Paralympic athletes - by 11% and 43% for Paralympic athletes for the Games (Rio de Janeiro 2016) after a home Games."

Public sector funding for the £9.3 billion Olympic project came in at £528 million under budget. The Government also claims there has been a £9.9 billion trade and investment boost to the economy from hosting the Games.

Lord Deighton, the former London 2012 chief executive who now works at the Treasury, suggested the number "in practice could be much, much bigger".

He noted: "Every meeting that I have, the first 20 minutes is somebody congratulating us on what a wonderful job we did - that is an incredible basis to start any kind of pitch. I think it is probably an underestimate."

Lord Deighton said the feel-good factor of the Games generated some strong memories. This included the torch relays and also the warmth with which the London 2012 Games Maker volunteers were received. There was also the effort to try and use the Paralympics to try and change perceptions about disability, he said.

London Mayor Boris Johnson claimed there has been an "unquestionable surge" of investment in London on the back of the Games and urged people not to be sceptical about the idea of an Olympic legacy. They would be proved wrong in the same way that people who had no faith that the Games would be a success, he claimed.

And Mr Robertson predicted the legacy story will "just get better year-by-year".

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