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Beijing Looks Forward to Olympic Five Rings


With the five-star flag of the International University Sports Federation (FISU) lowering at the closing ceremony of the "most successful Universiade of all time", Beijing is looking forward to honoring her commitments to the Olympic five rings seven years later.

"Let me say thank you to the forty six thousand volunteers and the citizens of Beijing and China for your support," said FISU president George E. Killian before declaring the 21st University Games close Saturday evening. "Without it, we could not have produced the largest and most successful Universiade of all time."

Just over one month after Beijing was awarded the 2008 Olympic Games, the Chinese capital spared no efforts to justify the choice of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) with an early but sounding rehearsal in the first world multi-sports event ever held in China.

Aiming to deliver the best ever University Games in history, the organizers built the first Games-specific athletes' village in Universiade history, organized the longest and most extensive torch relay, spent US$120 million in mending roads, constructed seven new sports facilities and renovated 45 old ones and recruited 46,000 diligent volunteers to provide services in reception, venue, transportation, tourist guide, security assistance, interpretation and press services.

At the same time, full support from the central government of China greatly boosted the organizers' confidence. Although the Games had an unimpressive budget of 325 million RMB Yuan (US$40 million), they had access to greater resources than the balance sheets indicated, thanks to support of China's central government, the Beijing municipality and market operations.

Having had a dozen of records, including the number of

participating athletes, delegations and media, broken before the official start of the games, the Universiade entertained university students and officials from all over the world with a fantastic opening ceremony, which was hailed by many as the best ever opening ceremony.

Despite hiccups in information service and communication networks early in the Games, Beijing organizers worked everything out and received thumbs-up from almost all participants at the most time of the 11-day gala.

"No major questions, no questions of transportation, no questions of food, no questions of information, was ever put in the village," said FISU secretary general Roch Campana, who met each day during the 11-day Games with chefs de mission of the delegations in the Athletes' Village. "We have here a tremendous Universiade."

Campana's remarks was echoed by Kevan Gosper, vice president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), who lavished praises on Beijing'traffic management, the main press center as well as the athletes' village during his four-day stay in the city.

He said it's very difficult to make suggestions to help Beijing improve its service and organizing work, because "all is very good ".

"For all the abilities and experience of the Chinese people and Chinese sports people, you know and we know, you would deliver the greatest Games in 2008," he said.

Jacques Rogge, newly-elected IOC president, was impressed by "a complete package" offered by the Chinese capital during his two- day visit amid the University Games and expressed his full confidence that Beijing would deliver a "best possible" Olympic Games in 2008.

"It is the quality of people, the expertise, the support of the government, the geography of the city, the strength of the Chinese sports and the Chinese tradition," said the 59-year-old Belgian surgeon. "All of this makes that you have everything to stage the best possible Games.

"The organization of the Olympic Games is very difficult to exercise, but we are fully confident you will succeed."

With the extinguishing of the Universiade flame, Chinese people are eager to apply what they learned from the Universiade for the Olympics.

"I am looking forward to working for the Olympics," said Sun Tingting, a senior student volunteer from Beijing Foreign Studies University. "I can hardly wait for the time to come."

(Xinhua News Agency 09/03/2001)







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