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African Reporters Visit Main Olympic Stadium in Beijing
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African reporters showed great interest during a visit to the National Stadium, a showpiece venue for the 2008 Olympic Games which is under construction, here on Friday.

"The design of the stadium is amazing," said Axmed Sagaar, a reporter from a TV station in Somalia. "I'll tell the athletes in our country that they will compete in such a fantastic stadium in 2008."

More than 20 African reporters who are here to cover the upcoming Beijing Summit of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation scheduled for Nov. 4-5 were invited to visit the stadium, known as "Bird's Nest" for its giant latticework structure of metal girders.

The 91,000-seat stadium, which will host the opening and closing ceremonies and athletics events at the 2008 Games, costs 3. 13 billion yuan (US$393 million). The construction work is scheduled to be completed by the end of next year, said Zhang Hengli, deputy general manager of the National Stadium Co. Ltd.

After visiting the stadium, Ngoupaha Paul-Marin from Radio Centrafrica said that Central African Republic will send athletes to take part in the 2008 Olympic Games.

"Our athletes are good at football, running and basketball. We hope our athletes win more medals at the 2008 Games," the reporter said.

Daniel Makokera, a reporter from South Africa, was very concerned about the technology, cost and construction of the stadium.

South Africa will embrace the 2010 World Cup as the first African nation to host such a festival of worldwide football fans.

The General Administration of Sports of China has expressed interest in expanding the Sino-African sports cooperation into the field of games organization and management, which is expected to bring the cooperation between sports professionals of the two parties to a higher level.

The Sino-African sports cooperation can be traced back to the early 1950's. According to the statistics from the administration, high-level sports delegations from China and Africa have frequently exchanged visits since 2000. China has inked sports agreements with South Africa, Lesotho, Egypt and Tunisia.

To help African nations register notable progress in their weak events, China has dispatched 38 coaches of 13 events to 12 countries on the African continent.

(Xinhua News Agency November 3, 2006)


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