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Beijing to Update Sports Facilities

The construction of sports infrastructure is a vital factor in the bid for the 2008 Olympic Games. As one of the five cities competing to host the 29th Olympics, Beijing is busy rebuilding its existing sports venues and planning to build new ones.

A number of major sports sites in Beijing are being renovated, including the Capital Gymnasium, the Workers' Stadium, the Workers' Gymnasium and the National Sports Center.

"The facilities in many stadiums and gyms in Beijing fall below the international level that they should reach for the Olympics, the world's largest sports meet," said Gao Yicun, director of the construction project planning department of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Bid Committee.

According to Gao, the renovations are mainly concentrating on updating the telecommunication systems in the sports venues.

Advanced TV broadcast systems will also be available.

The locker rooms are also to be improved, and work is to be done on such things as their central heating systems and their ventilation systems.

As well as the existing sites, some new sports facilities will be built in Beijing in the next seven years. Among these new constructions, the Beijing International Exhibition and Sports Center is set to be of the first magnitude.

The center will be located at the north end of the Zhongzhoulu, the axis of the ancient city of Beijing.

"It will be an extension of the axis, which boasts many famous historical sites, such as the Forbidden City and the Drum Tower," Gao said, adding that the new center will follow the architectural style of ancient Chinese buildings and will be symmetrical in design.

Work on the building's blueprints started more than five months ago. "We invited public companies to bid for the project in late March," Gao said. "In just three months, 26 Chinese and foreign designing companies, including those from the United States, France and Australia, handed in 16 designs."

The sponsoring departments then invited 10 famous Chinese architects and three foreign authorities to form a jury to select the best design from the 16 presented.

"According to an agreement reached by the sponsors, the design that received at least half the jury's votes was to become the first prize winner," Gao explained. "But unfortunately, none of them got enough votes."

After four days' strict appraisal, two designs, one Chinese and one American, won second prize and three others received the third prize, but the first prize remained vacant.


In This Series

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