In Beijing's northeastern suburbs an advanced Olympic water sports venue is being built where as many as 32 gold medals will be competed for at the Beijing 2008 Games.
As one of the main Beijing Olympic venues the Shunyi Rowing-Canoeing Park, located in the city's northeastern Shunyi District, covers 31,850 square meters and a seating capacity of 37,000.
During the Games the venue, which is 36 kilometers from the Olympic Village, will host 32 events including marathon swimming, rowing, canoeing and kayaking.
It will be the third largest "gold medal pool" after the National Stadium and the National Aquatics Center in the Olympic Central area.
Construction of the park, the first venue in the world that has both a flat-water area and a competition course for slalom, started in July 2005.
"The park is the most advanced rowing and canoeing venue in the world at present," said Zhang Lei, general manager of Beijing Olympic Aquatic Park Co. Ltd. "The combination of the flat water and slalom areas will help a lot in the post-Games use of the venue."
According to officials from the venue management committee the park will become the largest water sports and recreation center in Beijing's rural area.
"The design and construction of the park is based on the principle of serving the competitions at the Games and assisting the people afterwards," said Zhang Xiangdong, vice-director of Beijing Shunyi Olympic Venues Management Committee.
"After the Games it'll be used for competitions, training, recreation and fitness to become the largest holiday resort in northeastern Beijing. It'll leave a valuable legacy to the people of Beijing," said Zhang. On completion of the park the water surface area will be nearly 600,000 square meters.
"Together with the construction of the Chaobai River Forestry Park and the renovation of the Chaobai River a huge natural 'oxygen bar' will be formed in Shunyi and the Olympic venue will be surrounded by the forestry park," Zhang added.
As an important milestone of the project's construction the water reservoir of the park became operational on October 31. A total of 1.7 million cubic meters of water will be pumped into the course to test the operation of the whole project such as water recycling, the pumping system and the competition courses.
"We've calculated the most economical amount of water that is required for the competition and the recycling system will also help to save water," said Zhang Lei. "We could say that it's the venue where the 'Green Olympics' concept is most widely used."
The project is scheduled to be completed next April and will have three test events in Augus... the Canoe-Slalom China Open, the Canoe-Sprint China Open and the Rowing World Junior Championships.
Besides constructing the venue Shunyi District also considers the Olympics to be a good opportunity for its development. In order to build up an appealing environment for the Olympic Games the District is also making efforts to improve its infrastructure.
To make it more convenient for competition spectators a new road is being built between Beijing and Shunyi. During the 2008 Games it'll take only 30 minutes to go from central Beijing to the Shunyi venue. It's more than an hour currently. A total of 26 road-building projects are underway in Shunyi this year.
"To further improve the environment the district government also encourages citizens to make suggestions," said Zhang Xiangdong. "So far nearly 1,000 ideas about how to improve the environment have been sent to the Shunyi 2008 Environment Construction Headquarters."
To better serve the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games local people working in the service sector started to take Olympic training courses three years ago such as sign language, basic English and reception etiquette. Over 150,000 people have already received such training.
(China Daily November 24, 2006)