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Yao's bed, other Games items up for grabs
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If you are an Olympic and Yao Ming fan and a collector, here's news for you.

The jumbo bed the 7-foot-6-inch giant will sleep on in the Olympic Village will come under the hammer after the Games.

Two beds with additional mattresses for tall athletes are arranged in a bedroom in the Olympic Village in this photo taken on March 5, 2008. Each unit has three bedrooms which accommodate six athletes.

The NBA star's bed is just one of the about 200 million Games memorabilia up for grabs, for which online bidding started yesterday. The auctions can fetch up to 1 billion yuan ($145.7 million).

"We will highlight items (like Yao's bed) for bidders," Xiong Yan, president of the China Beijing Equity Exchange said yesterday. The Beijing Olympic Games organizer (BOCOG) has authorized the exchange to sell the items after the Olympics and Paralympics.

"Obviously, the bidding will be hot. People will be looking for memorabilia," Xiong said.

Under the hammer will be furniture and fixtures, timepieces, light bulbs and tubes, and a variety of sport equipment, among other things. Even some pieces of land could be auctioned.

About 200 types of furniture such as closets and coffee tables in the Olympic Village have already been listed online for sale. Such items can add up more than 65,000.

More electronic items and sport equipment will be put on the auction list soon.

"This is not the first time Olympic organizers are auctioning memorabilia," Xiong said. "But as far as I know, this will be the biggest."

A list of all the items will be issued to draw buyers. If more than one person bids for one item, it will be put under the hammer.

"I think buyers will get a good deal," said Li Jia, a representative of Beijing China-Trust Tendering Agent Company, who works with the exchange.

The BOCOG said boats owned by the Olympic sailing events' organizers in Qingdao will be returned to the manufacturers or rented out.

Auction plans for land where temporary Games venues have come up were chalked out in advance, the BOCOG logistics chief Yan Ligang said.

"We're working with Beijing's land use authorities and don't rule out the sale of land used for the Games," Xiong said. The auctions/sale can go on for about a year.

Money realized from the auctions/sale will go to the BOCOG, which has not yet announced how it will be used.

The Beijing equity exchange sold 64 billion yuan ($9.32 billion) worth of items last year, Shuai Xiaoshan, deputy director of the exchange's information center, said.

(China Daily June 26, 2008)

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