LONDON, Aug. 10 (UPI) -- This week's riots in London didn't stop 1,500 people from turning out Wednesday to watch bikini-clad beach volleyball players compete in a pre-Olympics event.
The matches, involving 24 teams, are being played through Saturday at Horse Guards Parade, just yards from Downing Street where British leaders were meeting in emergency session to decide how to deal with the ongoing riots in London and other English cities. Brazil and Mexico played the first match.
"This is a very beautiful location and the fans were very supportive. We love it here," Mexican Bibiana Candelas, 27, told The Mirror.
Brazilian Taiana Lima, 27, also was pleased with the venue despite the unrest. "The organization is great and the crowd have been very good," she said.
Members of the International Olympic Committee said security is a top priority and they were confident the 2012 Games would go smoothly.
Still, some British athletes expressed concern.
"A bloody disgrace, a minority of hooligans are sending out bad message for the rest of the country. World eyes 2012!", double Olympic track champion Kelly Holmes said in a message on Twitter.
Likewise, marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe said on Twitter: "In less than 1 year we welcome the world to London, and right now the world doesn't want to come?"
The 2012 Olympics beach volleyball event is already sold out.