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Rogge Lauds Beijing's Olympic Preparation

With five years away to the Beijing Olympic Games, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge has showered lavish praise on the national capital's Games buildup.

Rogge arrived in Beijing yesterday ahead of today's launch of the marketing plan for the event. He said the preparation is proceeding "extremely well" despite the impact of the potentially fatal SARS virus that hit the city earlier this year.

"The preparation for the Beijing Olympic Games is really exceptional and I am not saying that just for your delight," he told Beijing Olympic organizers.

Beijing has delivered its preparations ahead of schedule since winning the right to host the Games two years ago, prompting Rogge to joke: "There is one question -- I wonder what the Beijing organizing committee will do during 2007 (as) all of the works will be done (before then)."

Rogge said not only the Chinese people but the whole world is waiting anxiously for the event to start.

"To host a successful Olympic Games is a wish of the whole IOC and more than 200 countries in the world," he said.

This is the third time the Belgian has been in China after replacing Juan Antonio Samaranch in the IOC's top job.

Broadcasting deal

Late yesterday, Rogge headed a group of IOC experts during the signing of an agreement with local organizers to set up the Beijing Olympic Broadcasting Co Ltd, the host broadcaster for the 2008 event.

The company, responsible for providing the television and radio broadcasting services, is a major means to ensure China's first ever Olympics will be well-covered for a global audience.

It is not only accountable for the international broadcasting signals, but for the construction and operation of the International Broadcasting Center, and facilities and equipment at other venues.

"The signature of the agreement marks a new era for the broadcasting of the Olympic Games," said Hein Verbruggen, chairman of the Coordination Commission of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

The 2000 Sydney Olympics reached 3.7 billion people throughout the world, 700 million more than the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, which helped to generate a US$1.3 billion profit.

(China Daily September 1, 2003)

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