IOC Inspectors Impressed with BOBICO's Professionalism

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) evaluation commission gave high marks for the efforts made by the Beijing 2008 Games bidders on Saturday, the final day of the team's four-day inspection tour of the Chinese candidate city.

"We'd like to underline the professionalism of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Bidding Committee (BOBICO) team," Hein Verbruggen, chairman of the IOC team, said at a press conference Saturday afternoon.

"We're most impressed with the level of professionalism of the bid committee, the level of the presentations made to the commission, and the in-depth knowledge their specialists have shown to us," he said.

The IOC inspectors spent four intensely-scheduled days in the Chinese capital with BOBICO officials, who gave detailed answers on all questions raised by the members of the commission, Verbruggen said.

"The task of our commission is to evaluate the technical ability of each city to host the Olympic Games," Verbruggen said. "The commission's mission is a fact-finding one."

Due to IOC's new anti-graft rules, its members are banned from visiting any of the candidate cities. The findings of the evaluation commission are therefore to play a major role in the vote on July 13 when IOC decides the winner of the bidding race.

In order to prepare a "clear and precise" report on the bid city, the IOC evaluation group discussed every morning during these days with BOBICO officials details of the candidature files and inspected facilities in the city in the afternoon. They inspected sports venues proposed for the 2008 Games and such facilities as the sewage treatment plant and the city's traffic control center.

One of initiatives of Beijing's bid which had drawn great interest from the inspectors was the city's "Green Olympics" project, Verbruggen said at the press conference. The IOC official from the Netherlands described as "ambitious" a 12.2 billion U.S. dollars investment plan for environmental protection, of which 3.6 billion has been spent in projects concerned.

Whether or not Beijing's rewarded the Games, the environmental project would be a significant legacy for Beijing and they would bring about a significant improvement on the quality of the residents' daily life, Verbruggen said.

The IOC team also appreciate "a very strong government and public support" for the Olympic bid, according to Verbruggen.

During his meeting with the IOC inspectors on Wednesday, Chinese President Jiang Zemin underlined and ensured Chinese government's commitment to the Beijing bid. Jiang told the IOC officials that Chinese government definitely keeps all its promises made in Beijing's bidding report.

As for the overwhelming public support, Verbruggen said the inspectors themselves carried out independent survey during the tour. "We're pleased to see that the findings of our own poll were indeed a confirmation of what has been presented by BOBICO to us," he said,

The results of a recent Gallup survey had shown that 94.9 percent of Beijing's residents support the city's Olympic bid.

As for the sports facilities, one of the key sites inspected, BOBICO had offered an excellent sport complex to host 15 sports in the Olympic Park and planned venues for other disciplines would be within 30 minutes' drive from the Park, Verbruggen said.

"The concept will provide a good legacy for Chinese sports as well as the people of Beijing," he said

He also told the reporters that the commission proposed to the BOBICO that the sites for beach volleyball, mountain bike and triathlon be reviewed.

Lastly, he expressed appreciation for BOBICO's efforts to fully integrate the needs of Paralympic athletes into the overall constructions and plans.

(People's Daily 02/26/2001)

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