the rising metropolis busy bidding for the 2008 Olympics, is about
to make good its vow to turn the 21st Universiade into a global
multi-sports gala of unprecedented scale and with a distinctive
"It is the first time for Beijing to hold a world multi-sports
meet, but we are confident to prove to the world that Beijing is
fully capable of hosting any kind of large-scale world sports event
by making the 2001 Universiade the best ever," Beijing Vice-Mayor
Liu Jingmin, executive deputy secretary-general of the Universiade
organizing committee, pledged as early as 1999 in a report to the
International Universiade Sports Federation (FISU).
Indeed, the capital city has spared no efforts to keep its promise
for the event, to be held from August 22 to September 2.
To hold the 13th Asiad in 1990, Beijing built up well-equipped gymnasiums
and stadiums, as well as the doping test center at the National
But to do better in preparing for the Universiade - and to show
the sincerity of the 2008 Olympics bid - Beijing kicked off a vast
program early last year to build seven new gymnasiums and stadiums
and to renovate the 45 existing ones.
That work is now done.
Several facilities, including the Tsinghua Diving Gymnasium, the
Workers' Stadium, the Capital Gymnasium and the National Olympic
Center, were built or renovated in accordance with Olympic standards.
A sports village built at the Beijing University of Aeronautics
and Astronautics was designed specifically for the Universiade,
the first in the event's history. It is due to be completed next
month and can accommodate up to 8,000 athletes in 3,522 rooms covering
187,000 square meters. The rooms have air conditioning and private
Organizers expect participation to hit a record for the event, exceeding
the 5,700 athletes from 162 countries or regions who came to the
Fukuoka Universiade in 1995.
Besides facilities, an army of 50,000 volunteers are in place to
prove the hospitality of the city. Most are students at universities
across the nation who will serve as interpreters, guides and ushers
"To guarantee a smooth, fair competition, we have also drawn
out detailed plans to provide weather reports, medical services
and referee trainings," said Sun Kanglin, deputy secretary-general
of the organizing committee.
"Our staff examined the usual weather conditions in Beijing
during that period in recent years to help athletes from around
the world prepare."
The media center, situated at the Beijing International Conference
Center, will cater to journalists from around the world.
The 21st Universiade torch-passing relay, which started May 5 and
will conclude on August 22, will cross 31 provinces and the Hong
Kong and Macao special administrative regions before returning Beijing.
The Universiade holy torch actually comes from a compound of the
sacred flames collected from Massy University of New Zealand, Peking
University and the first Universiade torch brought to Beijing from
Turin of Italy.
As an old Chinese saying goes like "a good start contributes
to half of the success", Universiade organizers attached great
importance to the opening ceremony, which will feature on multi-cultural
characteristics and high technology
(China Daily 05/21/2001)