The debut of China's National Aquatics Center, nicknamed by the
Chinese as "water cube", has drawn accolades from International
Olympic Committee (IOC) official as well as swimmers for the
Olympic test tournament.
"This is an excellent and wonderful facility...and the best
aquatic venue by far," said Richard Kevan Gosper, the International
Olympic Committee (IOC) Press Commission Chairperson.
"It (the Olympic test) will be a very successful event, and all
operation work has gone very smoothly," he told reporters on
The Good Luck Beijing 2008 Swimming China Open, which opened on
Thursday and serves as a test of the venue ahead of the Olympics,
is scheduled to be participated by 234 swimmers from more than 36
countries and regions.
"I felt a very good mood for competition the time I entered the
cube," said Zhang Lin, a Chinese swimmer on the national team,
adding that the pool water temperature was just right for him.
Ryan Pini, from Papua New Guinea, said "the venue is very easy
to get around, and the volunteer services are quite
However, a few other swimmers also voiced their advice for the
Otylia Jedrzejczak, a Poland swimmer who swam women's 200m
butterfly on Thursday, complained it was too hot in the water and
the change room. "But besides that, everything else is OK," she
The swim meet is the maiden show of the Water Cube, but only as
a test event, few world-class swimmers take part in. Swimming
powerhouses like the United States and Australia will only send
observers to the event.
The 17,000-seat venue will host swimming, diving, synchronised
swimming and water polo during the game period and 42 gold medals
will be awarded there.
The squat box-like structure with three pools below ground level
is made up of a steel skeleton sheathed in a Teflon-like plastic
membrane that resembles bubbling water and gives the venue its
The eco-friendly structure's translucent shell allows in natural
sunlight, providing heat and light and cutting energy use by up to
30 percent, according to the information provided by the Beijing
Olympic organizing committee.
(Xinhua News Agency February 1, 2008)