Preview the 2012 venues

WHILE there may still be another 365 days until the world’s finest athletes begin to light up London 2012’s brand new venues, you can see them in action soon.

Over the next 12 months a number of test events are being held in the capital to christen the iconic arenas, courts and tracks that have been specially designed and built for next summer’s sporting extravaganza.

The good news for eager fans is that the London Prepares series is open to spectators, with tickets on sale now for everything from basketball at one of the Olympic Park’s eye-catching venues to beach volleyball at the purpose-built new facility at Horse Guards Parade.

UCI BMX SUPERCROSS WORLD CUP 2011

Where? The specially built 450m-long BMX track at the Olympic Park, enjoying its very first outing.

When? 19-20 August

Who? The world’s best riders, including home hope Marcus Bloomfield, descend on the capital for the third round of the Supercross World Cup Series.

Tickets? From £5 to £30, from Ticketmaster

FIVB BEACH VOLLEYBALL INTERNATIONAL

Where? Horse Guards Parade in St James’s Park, better known for the finery of the Trooping of the Colour – one of the most unusual London 2012 venues.

When? 9-14 August

Who? Two British teams are taking on some of the best pairings on the planet, including Olympic gold medal winners and current world No1s from Australia, USA and China, among others.

Tickets? From £15 to £20, from Ticketmaster

LONDON INTERNATIONAL BASKETBALL INVITATIONAL

Where? The striking white Basketball Arena in the Olympic Park which, aside from its eponymous function, is also set to stage London 2012 handball and wheelchair rugby.

When? 16-21 August

Who? Great Britain warm up for September’s European Championships with five matches against a host of strong opposition in Australia, China, Croatia, France and Serbia.

Tickets? From £5 to £25, from Ticketmaster

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS COMING SOON

TRACK CYCLING
The stunning velodrome at the Olympic Park hosts its first event in February.

DIVING/SYNCHRONISED SWIMMING
Zaha Hadid’s aquatics centre at the Olympic Park is flung open in February for diving and again in April for synchronised swimming.

ATHLETICS
The centrepiece of the Games, the Olympic Stadium, hosts track and field for the first time in early May.