Eton Manor was the venue for wheelchair tennis at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. It was be the first time that a venue has been created solely for the purpose of the sport. The venue was completed and the keys handed over in preparation for the Games in February 2012. It is located on the very northern side of the Olympic Park.
There were a total of nine competition courts and four warm-up courts at the venue which holding a total capacity crowd of 10,500. The jewel in the crown was the 5,000-seater show court which, along with five other courts, has floodlight capabilities.
The venue is on the site of Eton Manor Sports Club which prior to London winning the bid to host the Games had been disused since 2001. The sporting facility had been established at the start of last century as a community venue but had gained a reputation for sporting excellence. A war memorial honouring club members who fought in the First and Second World Wars has been retained as restored during the regeneration of the site.
Initially during the transformation of the Olympic Park the site was home to the Construction College East London. This practical training centre produced many graduates who went on to work on the construction projects around the Park. Work on the new venue began in the summer of 2010 and took around 18 months to complete.
The main sports building was built using recycled and sustainable materials wherever possible. The indoor tennis hall is clad with western red cedar and the roof structure incorporates roof lights which give natural light for the indoor courts.
The blue acrylic surface used to create the nine competition and four warm up outdoor tennis courts was started in July, the surface which can only be laid during the summer months as it is weather dependent, then took just 2 months to finish.
The lightweight steel and aluminum frame and PVC structure built for the Aquatics training pools is the only enclosure of its kind to house three Olympic 50m sized pools in Europe. It was designed and built to be flexible and the pools can be dismantled and split to form smaller pools as required for future use after the Games.
During the Games
As the venue was not used for competition during the Olympic Games, instead it had temporary aquatics training facilities with three 50m pools for swimmers as well as smaller pools for water polo and synchronised swimming.
For the Paralympic Games Eton Manot retained some of the aquatics training features but it was wheelchair tennis that took centre stage. Eton Manor was part of the Olympic Park day pass that allowed ticket holders access to a number of venues subject to available seating on the day.
Eton Manor will be a big part of the enduring legacy of the Games. It is intended that the site will become a multi-sports centre for the local and regional communities including four indoor and six outdoor courts. Added to these will be five-a-side football pitches and a hockey centre, which will have the ability to host elite hockey events for up to 15,000 spectators.