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Co-host Cities Pin Hopes on Games

Four more cities were officially confirmed as co-hosts of the 2008 Beijing Olympics on Tuesday, following Hong Kong’s approval from the International Olympic Committee as the venue for equestrian events on July 8.


Tianjin, Shanghai, Shenyang and Qinhuangdao are now all hoping their new status will bring urban renewal and renovation as well as international sporting recognition.


They had already been named as venues for preliminary football matches, and multimillion-dollar projects had been launched before signing agreements of partnership with the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) yesterday.


"Hosting the Olympic competitions will be a great opportunity for the development of Tianjin," the city’s Deputy Mayor Sun Hailin said.


All four cities have experience hosting international sports competitions: Shanghai has held Formula One auto racing and the Tennis Masters Cup; Tianjin and Shenyang frequently host major football matches; and Qinhuangdao recently hosted the Asian Women's Basketball Championships and World B-Class Cycling Championships.


But officials from all four said changes brought by the Olympics will be on a larger scale to anything that has gone before.


"I think the city will take on a new look," said Li Qinsheng, deputy mayor of Qinhuangdao.


Tianjin will build a new 80,000-seat stadium, and Shanghai and Shenyang will renovate their existing stadiums to reach Olympic standards.


(China Daily July 20, 2005)


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