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Qingdao Takes Olympics Chance to Build 'Sailing City'
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As the host city of 2008 Olympic sailing events, Qingdao, a port city in east China, is taking its chance to build up its image of a "Sailing City".

Qingdao do have favorable conditions for the " Sailing City".

First of all, the internaitonal events play an important role. The 2007 Qingdao International Regatta, which is the second test event for 2008 Olympic sailing competition, is in full swing.

More than 300 competitors from nearly 50 countries and regions are vying for medals, and the exceptional spectacle provides a feast for the eyes.

Qingdao is the first city in China to open its Olympic venues to public, with tens of thousands of people attending the regatta. Tourists from home and abroad swarmed into Qingdao for the event.

The two test events in Qingdao have played a role in attracting more Chinese people and making them more acquainted about the charm of the sport.

The regatta organizers arranged four competition areas alone the coastal line, which made it easy for the spectators to watch the competition and won the praise of Internation Sailing Federation (ISAF).

Apart from the test events and the Olympic Games, some other major international sailing events will be held in Qingdao.

The competiton of 2008 Volvo Ocean Race China Station will be held in Qingdao. What's more, the harbor of the Chinese team in American Cup Regatta is set up in Qingdao.

In addition, Qingdao has constructed a very good sailing venue for international sailing events.

The Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center, which will be the venue for 2008 Olympic sailing competition, won praises from both home and abroad. The facilities in the Olympic Sailing Center have won the reputation as "the best in Asia".

The center covers 45 hectares land, comprising of 30 hectares competition area and 15 hectares area for development. All essential facilities, including Qingdao Olympic Sub-Village, Athletes Center, Administrative Center, Venue Media Center and Logistics Center are in the competition area.

There are also Measurement Tent, Boat Parking Area, Launch Ramps, Olympic Memorial Dock, Main Breakwater and Other facilities, etc.

A group of 16 International Olympic Committee (IOC) inspectors heaped praise on both the city of Qingdao and its Olympic sailing venue after a two-day review of the Beijing Games co-host.

"We have not come across any serious omissions here", IOC Coordination Commission Chairman Hein Verbruggen rejoiced. "There are no major questions or concerns to do with the organization, operations or administration of the venue."

The post-Olympic use of the Olympic Sailing Center is also connected with sailing. For instance, the Athletes Center will be a public area. Olympic Regatta Musuem, leisure and entertainment facilities will be set up there. Venue Media Center will be changed into a yachting club.

In order to build up the image of a " Sailing City" and popularize sailing in China, the Qingdao government put a lot of effort on converting youngsters from mere spectators into budding sailors.

The government purchased 1,000 boats for young sailors with 1,300,000 dollars donated by local companies. "To teach these youth to sail, we have also held five training camps with coaches from seven different countries and we have sent some excellent young sailors to get trained in Kiel in Germany", vice-mayor Zang Aimin said Friday.

Goran Petersson, chairman of the ISAF, has confidence on Qingdao to build a "Sailing City".

"I believe Qingdao will play a pivotal role in developing and popularizing sailing in Asia." he said.

"I am sure of that, even after the Olympics, Qingdao will become a prominent sailing center that hosts many international events."

Verbruggen also said: "This is not only about the Olympic sailing event, but after the Games are over, it is clear that Qingdao will continue this strong and successful sailing legacy. Sailing will be the spirit and legacy of Qingdao."

(Xinhua News Agency August 19, 2007)

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