BEIJING 2008: IOC Sports Observation A Great Success
An IOC group, led by Hein Verbruggen - the Chairman of the IOC’s Coordination Commission for the Beijing Games, has just completed two-and-a-half weeks of observations of the Good Luck Beijing Sports Events in order to gauge the state of planning and preparations ahead of next year’s Games. The group, which also included members of the Coordination Commission and the IOC’s administration, visited 11 of the sports events taking place this month not only in Beijing, but Hong Kong SAR and Qingdao as well. The overall reaction from athletes taking part in these events has been positive, and the IOC delegation was also pleased with the progress that has been made in Games preparations by the Beijing 2008 Organising Committee (BOCOG). BOCOG will now take away the lessons that they learn from these events in order to improve planning for the Games themselves next year.
The events visited by the IOC observer group included the 2007 FISA World Junior Rowing Championships, an FIVB Beach Volleyball Women’s Challenger tournament, the 2007 UCI BMX Super Cross World Cup and the FILA 2007 Junior World Wrestling Championships, alongside invitational and open events in equestrian sports, hockey, sailing, canoe/kayak, cycling, baseball and archery. Talking about the organisation of the beach volleyball tournament to Associated Press, Swiss volleyball player Sarah Schmocker said, “The arrangements are very good. We haven’t had any bad experience at all.” This sentiment was echoed by Italian cyclist Bossio Gabriele, who won the cycling test event, when he said to Chinese news agency Xinhua, “The course was perfect, and the scene was beautiful, especially when you climbed the Great Wall, it was emotional.”
Second To None
In order to host the Good Luck Beijing Sports Events, a number of Olympic venues have been completed over the past few weeks and handed over in time for the events to take place. Across the board, the Beijing Games organisers have won praise for the quality of these new venues, and with the lessons learned from these events they will undoubtedly be even better at Games time. Speaking to Xinhua, US Archer Jennifer Nichols described the archery venue by saying “the venue is so beautiful, I like it very much. There is a little wind today, but it is an excellent location.” Commenting on the equestrian venue in Hong Kong, American rider Bruce Davidson said to Agence France Press, “The facilities are second to none. They have done an incredibly good job. Everything here has been done and that is a huge credit to the officials and organisers. They have got it ready to go.”
Project Review And MOC
During the visit, a half-day project review was also held with the IOC delegation, to look at a number of general Games areas, such as sport, transport, logistics, ticketing and construction, and to recap on some of the lessons to be learned from the sports events. BOCOG also ran simulation exercises to test out their Main Operations Centre procedures, which will be crucial to the success of the Beijing Games. The importance of these exercises was underlined by the fact that BOCOG President Liu Qi and the Mayor of Beijing, Wang Qishan, both took part in them.
The Games of the XXIX Olympiad – Beijing 2008 will take place from 8 to 24 August 2008. The Games in Beijing will play host to the 28 summer sports currently on the Olympic programme. Approximately 10,500 athletes are expected to participate in the Games with around 20,000 accredited media bringing the Games to the world.
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