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Olympic venues to be open for public sports
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Olympic venues will be open to the public for sporting activities starting this month, officials from the State General Administration of Sports (SGAS) said on Wednesday.

The venues include the Beijing Capital Stadium, Beijing Shooting Range, Laoshan Velodrome and mountain bike course, the national sports training center, Beijing Olympic Sports Center and Beijing Sports University.

"To solve the problem of Olympic venue usage after the Games and promote sports for the masses, related departments of the SGAS have made detailed plans for the venues and opened them to the public," said SGAS deputy director Feng Jianzhong.

"At the same time, the opening up of these venues will not affect the normal training of national teams," he added.

The prices for the use of the venues will vary according to their operating costs and will remain affordable, Feng said.

"The prices for those venues will be a little lower than commercially operated gymnasiums or venues," Feng said.

"There will also be preferential prices for students, the elderly and the disabled."

Other than common sports such as badminton, table tennis, basketball and swimming, the Olympic venues will also support services for specific functions.

The Beijing Capital Stadium complex is a traditional training ground for national teams in winter sports. Its indoor stadium, which was the venue for the Olympic volleyball events, will open to the public for badminton, table tennis, basketball and tennis later this month. Its ice-skating rinks will open after renovations next April.

The shooting range and cycling velodrome in the western part of Beijing is slated to hold special sports classes or host clubs for shooting, fencing and horse riding.

The Beijing Olympic mountain bike course and the cycling course that hosted US President George W. Bush when he visited Beijing in 2005 are currently open to cycling fans free of charge.

Other major Olympic venues such as the Bird's Nest and Water Cube have also been scheduled to be open to the public by the end of this month.

For the coming weeklong National Day holiday, which starts next week, visiting the Bird's Nest will cost 50 yuan ($7.30). There will be 80,000 tickets allocated daily. Similarly, there will be 12,000 tickets costing 30 yuan each available daily for visits to the Water Cube.

(China Daily September 25, 2008)

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