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Shenyang, Qinhuangdao Stand Test in Olympic Rehearsal
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With hosts China lifting the 2007 women's soccer invitational event trophy on Tuesday evening, Shenyang and Qinhuangdao satisfactorily completed their task and stood the test at a rehearsal for the 2008 Olympic Games.


The event served as a testing ground for all aspects of the organization of the Olympic Games soccer events, such as reception services, safety and security, transportation, medical care, broadcasting, volunteering and weather forecasting services.


Less than 400 days to go ahead of the Beijing Games, the tournament sent a strong message that the 2008 Olympic soccer events are in good hands, at least partially.


"I think it's a successful tournament. Even seeing from a rigorous standard, the whole event were going smoothly and well-organized, which give everybody coming here a confident vote for next year's Olympic Games in Beijing," said Thailand's assistant team manager Khajohnkiat Nipatpokai.


"My staff and players all found no oversights in match arrangement, accommodation, transportation, as well as security guard," he added.


Four women's soccer teams participated in the warming-up event for September's World Cup on Chinese soil, as China were joined by Italy, Mexico and Thailand in Shenyang and Qinhuangdao, both holding matches of next year's Olympic soccer competitions.


The two venues, Qinhuangdao's Olympic Center Stadium and Shenyang's newly-completed Wulihe Stadium, were highly praised by the participators and visitors.


"It's perfect. We all felt lucky to have a chance to play on such beautiful pitches," said Mexico's team manager Lepe Villarreal Gerardo.


He was echoed by his counterpart of the Italian side. Elide Martini told press: "The stadiums both look gorgeous and the pitches, my players told me, felt so good. It's maybe two of the best stadiums I've seen."


The Qinhuangdao's competitive and training pitches had been washed by rain for two days before the tourney unveiled on July 1, but it seemed that the drainage system worked efficiently and no complaints were heard from the team.


"We did not feel any thing uncomfortable about it. It's not affected by the rain at all," said Italian coach Pietro Ghedin after last Sunday's opener.


To mock an Olympic formulary, the tourney was carried out on four competition days and all participators had to twice take a shuttle race between the two cities during a ten-day period.


In solving travel problems, the organization committees reserved on non-competition days a special carriage for the teams at the China Railway High-Speed (CRH), so-called the D-capital train, which was voted confidence by all the exciting soccer staff.


"I felt good. It's very comfortable and convenient," said Marika Domanski-Lyfors, head coach of Chinese women's national soccer team.


"Many of us had been worried that the travels would weighed the players down after a fatiguing match. But It just took two hours to cover such a long distance between Qinhuangdao and Shenyang," said China's team manager Li Feiyu.


"We could even take a nap on the train, and no one was bothered by the travel," he added.


Italy and Thailand made their trips by D-capital train together with Chinese team, while Mexico taking a bus, and they all thumbed up for the well-arranged trips and none appeared frustrated in the following training sessions after arrival.


Also there's no security worry should be raised for the venues.


Respectively 3,000 and 5,000 security forces in Qinhuangdao and Shenyang had been deployed in line with the public functions as well as the amount of spectators, and security check on spectators were done thoroughly with bags and plastic bottles forbidden to be taking inside the stadiums.


"It's a good opportunity for us to get familiar with the venues and atmosphere, as well as the working content in organizing an Olympic-standard event. Through the organization of such international competitions, we can discover problems and accumulate useful experience for the upcoming 2008 Games," said Xu Dadi, director of the Shenyang Zone Organizing Committee for the 29th Beijing Olympic Games.


"If the whole work here should be evaluated with 100 points on standard for a successful Olympic Games competition, I think we've done 80 percent of it," he commented on the organizing job done for the just concluded women's soccer tournament.


(Xinhua News Agency July 11, 2007)

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