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Harbin Sets out Stall for 2010 Winter Olympics Bid
Harbin, the Chinese city bidding to host the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Thursday outlined its concept for the Games.

Wang Zuoshu, executive chairman of the Harbin Bid Committee for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and vice-governor of Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, said the city will build an Olympic Park in the east of the city centre.

The 65-hectare park would host the opening and closing ceremonies, and a press centre and broadcasting centre.

Also in the park will be the Heilongjiang Gymnasium, the Prime Olympic Stadium with a capacity for 50,000 spectators and a large gymnasium for training.

Ice-based events and training will be held in gyms in the city centre, Wang said.

Snow-based events will be held in Yabuli Olympic Snow Event Centre, which hosted the Third Asian Winter Games in 1996. Local facilities have been approved by the International Skiing Federation.

The bidding committee gave more details about its plan to upgrade the city's infrastructure.

The third and fourth ring roads will be built by 2009, with a total length of 146 kilometres.

Two new subway lines will be finished by 2005 and 2009 respectively, Wang said.

Harbin's immediate aim is to be one of the candidate cities selected by the International Olympic Committee from among eight bidding cities before August 29, Wang said.

The city formally announced its bid on February 10 and it submitted its reply to an IOC questionnaire on May 30.

The IOC has begun evaluating replies and will decide on the final candidates before August 29.

Wang estimated that four cities would be selected and said he was confident Harbin would be one of them.

From August 30 this year to July 2 next year, the IOC will decide on the host city.

Wang said he believed Harbin has advantages over other bidders.

"As a central city in northeast Asia, Harbin has rich experience in international sports, trade and culture exchange. And it is also a pioneering city in the development of winter sports and snow tourism in China," Wang said.

Moreover, the Harbin people showed great support for the city's bid.

In a poll that the committee conducted in March and April, 99.3 per cent of respondents favoured the bid.

Wang said the city will try its best to make its bid successful but, if Harbin loses this time, it will continue to bid in 2014 and 2018.

Duan Shijie, vice-director of the State Sport General Administration and vice-chairman of the China Olympic Committee, said the government attaches much importance to Harbin's bid and will fully support it.

(China Daily July 5, 2002)

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