THOUSANDS of sports mad fans are gearing up to travel to the London 2012 Olympics over the next three weeks.
Tickets for the various events were snapped up in minutes, with only a handful of lucky fans managing to bag a prized seat at the once-in-four-year event.
None were luckier than Limerick lass Paula English, 30, from the Dublin Road, who along with her fiance, will attend the blue riband 100m men’s sprint final in the specially built Olympic Stadium.
Paula, who recently got engaged to Essex man Dan Robinson, has lived in London for several years where she works as a secondary school teacher.
The pair entered “every event they could think of” to get tickets, and were successful in the marquee event, which will see Jamaican flyer Usain Bolt attempt to win his second successive gold in the 100m sprint.
“I’d say we applied for maybe ten events - around a thousand pounds worth of tickets - basically anything we could get,” Ms English told the Limerick Leader this week.
“The 100m men’s final was literally the only one we got, so it was a real stroke of luck,” she beamed.
The final is one of the most eagerly awaited in Olympic history, with reigning 100m champion Bolt carrying a ‘mystery injury’ and under real threat from his compatriot Yohan Blake, who warmed up for his own tilt at Olympic sprint glory by training in the University of Limerick recently.
“We are incredibly excited about going to the final, I don’t know anyone else who got tickets for it, so we are delighted,” said Paula.
The tickets arrived in a special package, along with a travel card and the holder’s names on them, to avoid any temptation of selling them on the black market where they could be worth thousands of pounds.
Paula and Dan are hoping the couple get to witness Bolt making history.
“I hope he is running and breaks the record and I can say I was there,” laughed Paula, who has lived in London for seven years.
Paula, who lives in Surbiton with credit analyst Dan, will also escort a group of her school kids to a volleyball match, after the Olympic Committee took the decision to disperse tickets among schools in London.
North Circular Road man Sam Ryan has tickets for handball, table tennis and volleyball, and has been planning a trip to London for the past two years with his family.
“I think it will be great. It is only possible [to do this] because London is so close.
“We booked all our travel nearly two years ago. We were going go, regardless of whether we got tickets or not, for the atmosphere,” he explained.
The UK’s Metropolitan Police Service have issued a warning to those travelling to London to be aware of a number of fraudulent websites offering tickets to the games.
The only safe and secure way to obtain tickets is through www.tickets.london2012.com or through the Irish Olympic Committee, they have stressed.