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  • On the Scene: IOC Commission Opens Beijing Meeting


    Still plenty of work to do with 289 days to go before the Beijing Games. (ATR)  
    (ATR) The head of the IOC commission overseeing the Beijing Olympics tells Around the Rings he has no worries about construction finishing in time for the Games next year.

    “Everything is coming together nicely,” said Hein Verbruggen at the end of his panel’s first day of meetings in Beijing.

    The 17-member commission arrived in Beijing today from Hong Kong, where the group inspected plans for the equestrian events.

    Verbruggen dismissed any concerns about the amount of work still taking place in the Olympic Green area, across the street from the hotel where the IOC is staying.
    IOC Coordination Commission chair Hein Verbruggen. (ATR)  

    “If they need to find 1,000 more workers to get the job done, they can do that here,” said Verbruggen.

    The commission will meet for two more days at BOCOG headquarters in northern Beijing in closed-door sessions. While no venue tours were planned, some members of the commission may wish to make visits to specific sites.

    Verbruggen says high demand for tickets to the Games is encouraging, aided he says by low ticket prices.

    Beijing International Airport will be at capacity in August 2008. (BCIA)  
    Airline fares are another matter, with major carriers to Beijing already pricing tickets during the Olympic period at twice the normal rate. Verbruggen says demand for Beijing travel outstrips the city’s ability to receive flights.
    “There are no more slots,” he says of the terminal capacity, even with a new airport opening in 2008.

    A wrap-up press conference is planned for Oct. 25. Later that night, IOC President Jacques Rogge will be on hand in a nearby convention center to open the 7th World Conference on Sport and the Environment.

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