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  • Countdown Beijing: Asian Games Gold for China


    The gold medal-winning relay team from China Saturday night at the Asian Games in Doha. 
    China Takes Asian Games Medals Lead

    Even though China has sent a young team to the Asian Games, the opening day of competition in Doha brought 23 medals to Chinese athletes, who swept all five swimming gold medals Saturday.

    China, which is using the Asian Games as a proving ground ahead of the Beijing Olympics, has brought a team of 647 athletes to Qatar. At the 2002 Asian Games, China won 150 gold medals, 308 in all.

    Medal rounds of competition Sunday in Doha include more swimming, weightlifting, judo and shooting, with more China podium finishes expected.

    Bird's Nest Complete at Olympic Stadium

    The bird nest-like steel structure of Beijing's National Stadium, the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Games, is now complete.

    Officials from the Beijing-based City Construction Group say the rest of the 91,000-seat stadium will be completed on schedule next year.

    During his last inspection tour in Ocotber, Hein Verbruggen, chairman of the IOC coordination commission for the 2008 Games, said the stadium is likely to become an "icon of this city in the future, like the Opera House in Sydney".

    Spanish Soccer Giant Barcelona Joins Olympic Promotion

    Reigning European soccer champion Barcelona will play an exhibition match at Beijing Workers' Stadium next year as part of the build-up to the 2008 Games.

    The Spanish giant, which is vying with fierce rival Real Madrid for new fans in China, will play an unnamed Chinese team on August 3, 2007, state radio reports.

    Barcelona has promised to field its top players, including Brazilian World Cup star Ronaldinho. The team will also take part in so
    The bird's nest stadium may become the most photographed landmark of the 2008 Games. (ATR) 
    cial and charity events linked with the United Nations Children's Fund and the Paralympics.

    Hong Kong Calls for Equestrian Volunteers

    The Equestrian Committee for the 2008 Games has opened recruitment of about 1,800 volunteers for Olympic and Paralympic equestrian events in Hong Kong.

    Volunteers will undergo comprehensive training to prepare them for test events in Hong Kong next August, says equestrian events head Lam Woon-kwong.

    The initial 90 to 100 volunteers will be trained as leaders for the remaining volunteers and must be fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin Chinese and English, Lam says.

    Would-be volunteers can apply online at

    With reporting from Beijing by Bill Smith.

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