The Beijing Olympics official website, www.beijing2008.cn, is still unknown to many people outside China when the Chinese capital is going all out for preparation for the Games next year.
A small-scale survey, carried out by Xinhua News Agency among ten people from countries such as Brazil, Kenya and Russia during the ongoing 24th Universiade in Bangkok, showed that half did not get the information about the Beijing Olympics through the official website, which covers the preparation of the Game in three languages, namely English, Chinese and French.
"I know there will be such a website for an Olympic Games but I have not visited it yet. We talk a lot about the Olympics in France and it is on TV and newspapers," said Arnand Richard, vice president of French University Sports Federation.
Brazilian athletics team coach Neilton Moura also got information about the Olympiads from newspapers and TV news.
"I know that you have completed the construction of the stadiums a year before the Games' start. And I read many other news about Beijing in newspapers," Moura said.
"I have also got the (Olympic) information from internet, but not the official website," said the coach, who brought 11 athletes to compete in the Universiade and six of them would go on to the World Championships in Osaka, Japan, opening on August 25.
Aggrey Birgen Chirchi, an 800m runner from Kenya, was preparing for his Olympic trial and would go to the Beijing Games if he qualified.
"I know very little about Beijing and China," Chirchi said, adding that it never occurred to him to visit such a website.
For some who did visit the website, they found that the information was inadequate.
Former wrestler Reid Lamphere of the US said there were question marks when he tried to look for details.
"I want to know how I get tickets, which is a big thing, and how we get tickets to events, where the events will take place, how easy it will be to drive, and will parking be impossible?" he said.
Italian Gianni Merlo, a journalist from La Gazzetta dello Sport, said he expected to read more interesting stories from the website.
"Sometimes you have to go to the official website for information. I understand official websites have certain rules to follow. But I think the organizers can become more aggressive," he said.
In the survey, only Russian shooting coach Oleg Seleznev gave positive comments.
"I found the website was useful. I visited it once every month and always found new stuff on it. I can read everything I want from it," said Seleznev.
(Xinhua News Agency August 14, 2007)