Beijing Olympic organizers do not plan to move some events out of the city despite concerns from athletes about the air quality in the Chinese capital, an organizing committee official said on Tuesday.
"So far, we have no plans to hold events such as the marathon at a place outside Beijing," Liu Wenbin, deputy director of BOCOG's sports department, told a press briefing.
But Liu admitted that BOCOG has arranged rest days when drafting the competition schedule so that they can make adjustments if unfavorable weather conditions occur.
"Any decisions to postpone or cancel Olympic events must be made jointly by the IOC, the international federations, BOCOG and broadcasting rights holders," he said.
International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said in August last year that some outdoor endurance events might have to be rescheduled if the air is not good enough during the Games period.
Despite billions of dollars spent to improve its environment, Beijing is often blanketed by smog and a report released in last October by the United Nations Environment Program said Beijing was on course to hold a Green Olympics but air quality remained a problem.
However, Chinese authorities believe the air quality will improve significantly by the time the Aug. 8-24 Games start.
Du Shaozhong, deputy director of the municipal bureau of environmental protection, had said the city will order at least one third of 3.3 million vehicles off the road during the 16-day Olympics and close dust-spewing construction sites and polluting factories.
(Xinhua News Agency February 20, 2008)