Aquatics Centre wows first guests

IT MAY have been the last venue to be finished, but the Aquatics Centre certainly appears to have been worth the wait.

The £269m, 17,500-capacity wonder designed by leading architect Zaha Hadid was finally opened yesterday – and was an instant hit.

Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee called it “a masterpiece”, adding: “I have seen so many venues in my life that I had a visual shock when I came in. everything stands out; the harmony, the quality, the innovation.”

“Everyone can be proud of this venue,” added London 2012 organisers’ chief Lord Coe, while Mayor of London Boris Johnson called it “an architectural poem, a seamless wave of beauty”.

The structure, nicknamed the Stingray because of its appearance, has been likened on the inside to the belly of a whale.