The first "test event" for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games starts today in the
eastern coastal city of Qingdao. The 2006 International Regatta
features 302 boats, crewed by 466 sailors from 41 countries and
The event is seen as an important international Olympic-class
regatta, which will help Qingdao prepare for the 2008 Games when 11
sailing events in nine categories will be held in the city with 11
gold medals to be anchored.
Organizers said the Regatta sailing courses were designed as
closely as possible to those of the 2008 Olympic races and all
activities would be carried out following the Olympic
The event is being held at Qingdao International Sailing Center.
Covering 45 hectares on Fushan Bay the center is an
environmentally-friendly leisure area for city residents and
visitors as well as a competition venue.
"We have built this marina for all the Qingdao citizens rather
than just the Olympic Games," said Li Fengli, deputy
secretary-general of the Sailing Committee (Qingdao) of the Beijing
Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG).
"We've organized all kinds of activities to help spread awareness
of sailing among the residents of the city."
In addition, the athletes and media centers and other land
facilities associated with water sports including a floating dock
are all ready for the Regatta.
"In order to ensure the smooth running of the event we've set up
three operation centers under the organizing committee," said Li.
"They're the city, games and security operational
"The Qingdao municipal government has worked out a complete city
operational plan and a full rehearsal was completed at the end of
July," Li added. "We've tested all the plans and have improved them
to make the event perfect."
According to local media reports security measures have been
strengthened in and around key areas.
There'll be more than 1,300 trained volunteers helping supervise
the event. Some of them will be deployed in the competition area to
provide assistance to athletes, officials and media. The others
will work in more than 100 posts in transport hubs, tourist spots
and other public areas across the city.
"To be able to prepare for the 2008 Olympic sailing events is an
important opportunity for our city," said Zang Aimin, vice mayor of
Qingdao. "We see it as an opportunity to accelerate the development
of the city and improve the awareness of our residents."
According to official statistics the city has experienced a
growth in its gross domestic product and faster infrastructure
construction since winning the bid in 2001 for the sailing
"As analyzed and predicted by social and economic experts the
Olympic sailing events will make Qingdao richer, cleaner, more open
and more civilized," said Zang. "With the driving force of the
Olympics the city will become more dynamic and competitive with a
better living environment."
Qingdao is making every effort to build up its image as a
"sailing city," Zang added.
The Beijing 2008 Olympic emblem and the sailing boat logo have
appeared in almost every corner of the city. Thousands of tickets
have already been sold or booked by local residents to watch
According to Qingdao's Olympic plan its preparation for the
Games is in four phases -- preparations, development, testing and
improvement, and actual operation.
With the staging of this event the city has already entered the
testing and improvement phase when examinations, improvements and
trial operations are being carried out at all construction projects
and services. During the four-month operational phase from August
2008 the sailing events of both the 2008 Olympic Games and the
Paralympic Games will be held.
In Olympic sailing competitions there are nine sailing classes.
Each country can enter one boat in each class.
(China Daily August 18, 2006)