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All Smiles as Athletes' Village Opens
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Ready for the Games: the Athletes' Village has officially been openedThree years ago it may have seemed a dream yet now the breathtaking Athletes' Village for the 15th Asian Games Doha 2006 has officially been opened.

It marks an incredible and rapid transformation that has turned an area of sand in March 2004 into a state-of-the-art accommodation for more than 10,500 participating athletes.

A polyclinic, dining hall, swimming pool and tennis courts are all features of a site that has impressed all who have seen it. There is also a retail centre, local cultural village and athletes' entertainment area.

"No words can really express my joy," Abdulla Khalid Al Qahtani, Director General of Doha Asian Games Organising Committee, told Qatar Tribune. "You just can't explain the thrills I'm getting while standing in the middle of this dream project.

"Brick over brick was laid and wall over wall erected. Everything was done as planned and the Athletes' Village has come up as an architecture wonder, more beautiful than I dreamt of."

Sharing the same enthusiasm, Ahmed A. Al Khulaifi, Mayor of the Athletes' Village said: "As a team we understand the enormous responsibility Qatar has to show hospitality to all those arriving. We are honoured to be the host and prepared to meet the challenge. It is the optimum setting for athletes and together we will make history."

Hamad Al Tamimi, Director of the Athletes'  Village said:"Through dedication and hard work we have made a fully functional Athletes' Village.

"People can learn about Qatar and its people, arts, crafts and pastimes. They can feel relaxed and refreshed and enjoy the community spirit."

Mr Al Khulaifi and Mr Al Tamimi cut the ribbon to signal the grand opening on Wednesday 15 November.

Teams from the competing 45 countries and regions have begun arriving at the Athletes' Village ahead of the Games' Opening Ceremony on 1 December.

The complex will be converted into a Medical City when the Games are over.

( November 19, 2006)

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