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  • Countdown Beijing: Asian Games Success


    China wins 316 medals at the Doha games. 
    Asian Games Success Not Guaranteed for Beijing

    The head of the Chinese Olympic Committee says his country?s dominant medal finish at the Asian Games in Doha does not guarantee the same success at the Beijing Olympics. Liu Peng told a press conference on the final day of the games in Qatar that the competition will be much stronger in 2008.

    "Asian Games is different from the Olympics in terms of competition rules ... and competitors. In many sports Asia is not in the leading position across the world. Even in some of Asia's strong sports, the top athletes didn't participate.

    ?It is clear that we are facing more severe situation and harder tasks in the lead up to the Beijing Olympics in spite of our excellent results in Doha. We must redouble our efforts to meet the coming greater challenges,? said Liu.

    At the close of competition Friday, China had 165 gold medals out of the 316 overall from the Doha Games.

    Sacked Vice Mayor Faces More Tribulations

    China's ruling Communist Party has expelled former Beijing vice mayor Liu Zhihua, who was sacked in May over corruption allegations. State prosecutors have been handed Liu?s files. He was in charge of Olympics construction for the municipal government.

    BOCOG chairman Liu Qi, who is also party secretary of Beijing, says supervision of Olympic projects will now be tightened to prevent more corruption.

    "We must tighten auditing and monitoring efforts on the preparatory work of the Olympics to prevent all potential [corruption] problems," state media quoted Liu Qi as saying after the announcement of Liu Zhihua's expulsion.

    Liu Zhihua was "found to have taken millions of yuan in bribes by taking advantage of his official position," the reports said.

    Last week, BOCOG said it drafted top construction official Xu Bo to help oversee the anti-corruption efforts.

    BOCOG Executive Board Meets

    The BOCOG Executive Board has approved the preliminary designs of pictograms for the 20 sports in the 2008 Paralympics.

    "The preliminary design and development work has been completed, following stages of research and planning, design and creation as well appra
    isal and examination," BOCOG said in a report of its 74th Executive Board meeting.

    The board also discussed the selection of torchbearers for the 2008 Olympics and organization of the overseas sections of torch relay and press strategy for the torch relay.

    Few details of the relay have been announced so far.

    Air-Friendly Taxis Coming

    Beijing has scrapped 13,000 taxis and 2,000 buses this year as it tries to curb tailpipe emissions in the run-up to the 2008 Games.

    The taxis are "cheap models with high emission levels", the Xinhua news agency quoted Beijing government official Liu Xiaochen as saying.

    Replacement taxis will be models that meet the Euro-III emission standard, Liu said.

    The old buses will be replaced by 2,760 gas-powered, low-pollution models, he said.

    Sulfur dioxide emissions in Beijing increased by 4.2 per cent in the first half of 2006, mainly because of auto emissions, the agency said.

    Reported from Beijing by Bill Smith

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