Senior official of the International Table Tennis Federation
(ITTF) gave high praise to the Olympic table tennis venue in which
the "Good Luck Beijing" test event concluded on Wednesday.
"I want to represent the ITTF to say thanks to the organizing
committee here. They have done a very good job. The ITTF are fully
satisfied," said Jordi Serra, Executive Director to the Headquarter
and Olympic Office of the sport's world ruling body, at a news
conference in Beijing.
"Even if the Olympic Games began next week, I think the
organizing committee would have been ready," he added. "Many, who
had worked for Athens and Sydney, also worked here and they all
thumbed up for Beijing's job."
The Beijing University Gymnasium, which is to hold the table
tennis competitions at next year's Olympic Games in Beijing, has
been under test with the ITTF ProTour Finals on Dec. 13-16 and the
2007 International Table Tennis Invitational Tournament on
Fifty-seven players from 17 associations participated in the
Olympic test events as all gold medals of the finals have been
pocketed by the unbeatable hosts.
"More than fifteen thousand spectators have come into the
stadium for the events and the ticket income summed to 1.15 million
yuan (about 150,000 U.S. dollars) with 10,742 tickets having been
sold," Zhang Yan, Chief Director to the stadium's Olympic
functioning team, told the press.
Problems, however, have also emerged besides the prosperity. The
lighting system and the facility for spectators are the main
aspects being widely blamed.
On Thursday afternoon, blackout hit the finals and the ongoing
men's and women's doubles matches had to be halted for 20 minutes
and the organizing committee said it was a failure for the
emergency power system.
"The blackout accident warned us," Zhang said. "After the
events, we will do further checks on the stadium's hardware."
Also, a number of players complained the lighting is too bright,
while broadcasters called for even much brighter lighting.
"As a technical official of the ITTF, I've told the organizing
committee that the lighting might be too bright for players,
especially those who throw high to serve," said Yao Zhenxu,
Chairman of the ITTF Technical Committee.
"But the broadcasters want the contrary. We'll later work on it
and try to meet demands from all aspects," added Yao, who's also a
member of the Olympic functioning team for table tennis.
For the spectating stands, Yao said the organizing committee has
heard the complaints of coaches and players, and they'll manage on
it though it's difficult to handle with a limited area.
Liu Guoliang and Shi Zhihao, head coaches of the Chinese men's
and women's table tennis national team, both complained about the
above- mentioned problems as Liu said the spectators' talks could
be heard during matches and players were always affected.
The Beijing University Gymnasium, the first ever professional
table tennis venue used in Olympic Games, had caught fire on July 2
and widely raised worries towards the construction schedule.
Located in northwest Beijing, the domed 26,900-square-meter
gymnasium is one of the 12 new venues being built for next year's
Olympic Games. Upon completion, the gym will be able to hold 8,000
(Xinhua News Agency December 20, 2007)