It wasn't always going to be a permanent structure. Now the future benefits to sport, the local Borough and local schools is self-evident. It was great to have children from Gainsborough school actively participate in the sports of Handball and Goalball, interacting with Great Britain representative players, demonstrating how the Games act as a catalyst for fun, fitness and enjoyment through sport.
I didn't realise that this will become the third largest indoor venue in London after the Games, another cause for celebration, particularly as it is situated in what will surely become one of the loveliest parkland areas situated in the heart of East London.
What's more, you only need to stand outside the spectator entry doors to see that the venue really is a focal point for the Olympic Park. The panorama in front of you includes all of the other venues in the Park: the Velodrome, Basketball Arena, Athletes' Village, Aquatics Centre and Stadium – they feel so close that you could almost reach out and touch them.
And indoors? I have to admit, I didn’t like the multi-coloured seats at first. But now I am a convert. The seats, plus the 88 sun-pipes and 360o glazing, flooding the Arena with natural light, as well as the 3,000 square metres of copper cladding all vie for the honour of being the outstanding feature of this unique building.
Enjoying the sports at the venues
We were treated to demonstrations of the sports of Goalball and Handball by GB athletes once the formalities of the day were finished.
Goalball took the stage first. With absolute silence in the hall, the vision impaired athletes, wearing block out masks to ensure a level playing field, threw themselves in front of a heavy, basketball-sized ball in order to prevent a goal being scored by their opponents.
We quickly learnt the rules. The ball must bounce at least once within two lines on the thrower’s side of the court and the throw must be completed within 10 seconds in order to count. The athletes, with only bells inside the ball to guide them, took aim by sense of touch, relying on raised, tactile lines and the goal posts for orientation.
Six-all and the final throw thuds into the court, hitting a sprawled athlete on the legs, spinning over and into the goal. Now is the time for celebration and the crowd spontaneously applauds and cheers the action.
Next up, Handball. The members of the GB women’s Handball team put on a demonstration of shooting moves. A little bit like football with the hands, the athletes pass and dribble the ball, using the full freedom of taking up to three steps with the ball, to drive towards the opponents’ goal. Defending players are allowed to make contact in what is a very physical game, requiring agility, power and speed for success. The goalkeepers bravely rely on their reflexes to stop shots which can reach over 60mph.
One by one, they demonstrated shots from various positions: wing, back and pivot from close range and using the full length of the 40mx20m court in simulated 'fast breaks' in front of an appreciative audience.
If this is a taste of what the Games will bring then the UK public are really going to enjoy a fantastic experience during London 2012.