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Co-host cities ready for Olympics
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Co-host cities of the Beijing Olympic Games - Shanghai, Tianjin, Shenyang, Qingdao and Qin Huangdao - said Friday that they were ready for the sensational sports meet.

Shanghai, Shenyang, Tianjin and Qin Huangdao will host men's and women's football group stage matches and quarterfinals, and the coastal city Qingdao is the venue for the sailing competition.

"We are fully ready for the Games in terms of security, accommodation and transportation, and the only challenge comes from the weather," said Chen Qiwei, the deputy director of Shanghai Municipal Government News Office.

He explained that Shanghai would enter its rain season during the Olympic period, and the heavy rain, if not storm, could create difficulties for the competition.

"We have prepared dozens of backup plans in case of the bad luck (bad weather)," Chen told a press conference at the Olympic Main Press Center in Beijing.

Tianjin, a large city adjacent to Beijing, has mobilized around one thousand volunteers into service.

According to Xie Delong, vice president of Tanjin Sports Bureau, among the 1,000 volunteers, 80 will go to Beijing, 20 will serve the Beijing Paralympics, 800 will serve the Olympic football matches in Tianjin and 100 are for the Olympic torch relay in Tianjin.

The city will host a total of 11 men's and women's football group stage matches and a women's football quarterfinal from Aug. 6-15.

To step up the venue facility service and operation, and ensure the security during the Games period, Tianjin also come up with comprehensive treatment schemes to curb air pollution.

"Provisional and comprehensive supervision and treatment measures have been adopted to ensure the air quality," Xie said, adding that the local environment efforts would focus on the pollutant emission from the power plant as well as the automobiles.

As for Qingdao, an official said that the algae at the sailing venue had been cleared, and the security methods had not only covered the air, the land, but also under water.

All algae at the Qingdao Olympic sailing venue had been "basically" cleared and would not affect the sailing competition, said Zang Aimin, vice mayor and executive vice chairman of the sailing committee, BOCOG.

Starting in mid-June, the coast of Qingdao was coated with a vast algae coming from the Yellow Sea. A bright green covering of algae smothered beaches and extended out several hundred meters. It once covered 32 percent of the sailing venue at the peak of the outbreak.

The local authorities installed two barriers to keep algae out of the Olympic sailing venue that covers 50 square kilometers and by Tuesday, more than 1 million tons of algae had been cleared, Zang added.

According to Zang, the city even applied underwater robots and video cameras to ensure safety of the upcoming sailing competitions.

"The naval forces also helped us establish an underwater monitoring system including video cameras, robots and divers to watch potential threats," the event organizer said.

The sailing event will run from Aug. 8 to 23. More than 400 athletes from nearly 60 countries and regions will compete for 11 gold medals.

(Xinhua News Agency July 19, 2008)

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