Beijing 2008 readiness takes key step closer to reality
Bringing to a close its next-to-last meeting before the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games begin, the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Coordination Commission today marked an important milestone in its review of preparations for August next year. The three-day meeting with the Beijing 2008 Organising Committee (BOCOG) was the first held since the IOC visit in August, and was the opportunity to fully appraise the results of the test events held over the past months.
“The BOCOG team has once again shown us that they have understood what is needed to organise top quality Olympic and Paralympic Games,” said Hein Verbruggen, Chairman of the Coordination Commission. “The feedback that we have been receiving from the International Federations and athletes alike, specifically from their experiences at the test events, shows us that BOCOG has been able to translate that understanding into an operational reality. However, in these final months the need for continuous action is imperative.”
With less than 10 months left until the Beijing 2008 Opening Ceremony, presentations at the meeting gave Commission members details of Games preparations as well as status reports on how BOCOG and the local Beijing authorities plan to address matters such as air quality, ticketing and the Olympic Torch Relay.
Addressing the meeting, BOCOG Executive President Liu Peng conveyed Beijing’s commitment to doing an outstanding job as host of next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games. Liu, who is Minister of the General Administration of Sports and President of the Chinese Olympic Committee, said that the foundation for a successful Olympic Games was already in place. He also emphasised that BOCOG would continue to work with the IOC and its Coordination Commission to step up the level of preparations.
The final Coordination Commission meeting before the 2008 Olympic Games will be held in April next year. By then all preparations will be largely completed.
“Even with the challenges we face, BOCOG and local authorities have carefully assessed what needs to be done,” Verbruggen said. “They must continue to act quickly to resolve any issues and maintain their current level of effort. With less than 10 months remaining, a particular focus on detail will be required, as this will ultimately make a major difference to the success of the Games; but we are confident that they will have everything in place to allow the Games to be held at the highest standards and in the best possible conditions – for athletes but also everyone else who will come to Beijing.”
This week’s meeting also brought IOC Athletes’ Commission representatives to Beijing for a review of service levels for athletes at Games time, including a look at the Olympic Village. Their review is a regular part of Games preparations to ensure that the needs of the athletes are met and conform to the high standards expected from the Olympic Games.
“Our working group was impressed by everything we saw, and we’re sure that our fellow athletes will be very happy next summer with the accommodation and services that BOCOG is planning to provide,” said Sergey Bubka, Chairman of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, who was joined in Beijing by Olympians Robert Ctvrtlik (Volleyball), Rania Elwani (Swimming) and Yaping Deng (Table Tennis). They were selected by the Commission to independently represent athletes’ interests.
Before arriving in Beijing, a delegation from the Coordination Commission also visited the co-host city of Hong Kong, where the Beijing 2008 Equestrian events will be held. Members visited both venues in Beas River and Sha Tin. They also held meetings with the Hong Kong Equestrian Company, and representatives of the local government and sports authorities. Following the visits and meetings, the Commission members were all highly impressed by the facilities and services that will await the equestrian community in August 2008. As a service to our readers, Around the Rings will provide verbatim texts of selected press releases issued by Olympic-related organizations, federations, businesses and sponsors.
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