With the 11th International Softball Federation Women's Softball
World Championships approaching, relevant departments of the
Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) see it as an ideal chance to test the
preparations for the 2008 showpiece.
The championships will be the first international sports event
held at one of the capital's Olympics venues.
"The softball world championships this time will not just be a
sports competition, but a test event for the 2008 Beijing Olympic
Games," said Jiang Xiuyun, vice-president of the Chinese Softball
"The organizing process will involve more departments than usual
and close co-operation is required between all of them."
The championships will be held from August 27 to September 5 at
Fengtai Softball Field in Beijing's southwestern Fengtai
A total of 272 players representing 16 teams will participate.
The top four teams will automatically qualify for the Beijing
According to Jiang, the organizing group for the event has been
set up by BOCOG, and about 500 staff will be involved.
"It is the first time that an operating group for a sports
competition here has involved so many departments, such as
security, media and transportation," said Jiang.
"All the preparatory work has been in line with the Olympics
standards and we need a lot of time to co-ordinate such a large
In order to better serve the event, training sessions on the
rules of softball and spectators' behaviour have been held in
A simplified softball game has also been promoted among school
students in the district as well to arouse their interest in the
A special bus line will be opened to spectators instead of
providing huge parking lots for cars at the site.
Work on the Fengtai Softball Field is due to be completed by the
end of this month and will be the first Olympics venue in Beijing
put into use.
Covering an area of about 15,570 square metres, the venue has
two competition grounds and two training fields.
(China Daily June 17, 2006)