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Quanzhou to host largest-ever Chinese Peasants' Games
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With smiling faces of more than 10,000 volunteers, free tickets for audiences, safe and delicious food for all participants, Quanzhou, the host city of the 6th Chinese National Games of Peasants embraces the sports gala with all heart.

The starting point of the "Silk Route on the Sea", Quanzhou had once been very prosperous in foreign trade. About 800 years ago in Song and Yuan Dynasties, Quanzhou was one of the largest harbors in the world, as famous as the Alexandria Harbor in Egypt.

Now, Quanzhou has become one of the sports equipment production base in China, and its economic growth rate has leapt to the front row among the nine municipal cities in Fujian Province, which is on the west coast of the Taiwan Straits.

For the first time, the fast growing city will host the 6th National Games of Peasants running from 0ct. 26 to Nov. 1. It will be the first multi-sport gala in China after the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics.

"The 6th edition is the largest-ever in the history of the Chinese National Peasants' Games, with more than 3,000 participants of 32 delegations from all over China," said Zhang Yi Shen, director of the reception department of the organizing committee.

According to Zhang, all the athletes, coaches, referees and officials will be arranged in around 50 star-hotels, and the food safety has become one of the priority of the reception department.

"We assigned two supermarkets to provide food for all these hotels, and We have inspectors to check the food at least twice a day. We provide all kinds of food, from noodle, dumplings to sea food for the participants," added Zhang.

As for the transportation, the organizing committee provides each delegation with at least one mini-van and two cars.

Since the "Eighth Five-year Development Plan" was carried out, Quanzhou has invested 20 billion yuan (about US$3 billion) into the infrastructure so as to improve the facilities in telecommunications, energy and transportation.

"Until now, we had arranged more than 300 vehicles for athletes, coaches, referees and officials," Zhang said.

Meanwhile, the organizing committee has made all the competitions free for spectators, and all the tourist sites in the city are free for the participants of the Games.

"Although tickets are needed for some matches, such as basketball finals, Wushu (Chinese martial arts) finals and Chinese-style wrestling, they are free of charge. Most of the matches don't require any tickets, and everybody can go to watch the games after security check," said Zhang.

Moreover, 5,300 volunteers will serve the Games directly, while around 7,000 city volunteers and hundreds of service stations scattered around the city will provide guiding and helping service for the tourists and the Games' participants.

"I hope all the participants will feel like home in Quanzhou. We will try our best to let them remember a hospitable Quanzhou," said volunteer Zhang Zhiling, a sophomore from Quanzhou Normal University.

(Xinhua News Agency October 24, 2008)

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