- 17 Aug 2005
- Olympic News
A working group from the IOC Coordination Commission for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, led by Chairman Hein Verbruggen, has completed a visit to Beijing, to check on the progress of Games preparations. They also visited Hong Kong, where the equestrian competitions will take place. This is the team’s first visit to Hong Kong since the IOC agreed to a proposal from the Beijing Organising Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) and the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) to host the competitions there.
Benefit from upgrades
The decision to move the equestrian events to Hong Kong follows difficulties in establishing an equine disease-free zone in Beijing. This means that the equestrian competitions will now take place at facilities currently operated by the Hong Kong Jockey Club and the Hong Kong Sports Institute. These existing facilities will now benefit from upgrades that will serve not only for Olympic competitions in 2008, but will also remain as a legacy to Hong Kong sport long after the Olympic and Paralympic Games are over.
Best possible conditions
“We were very impressed by the proposed venues for the equestrian competitions in Hong Kong and the preparatory work there,” said Commission Chairman Verbruggen. “The decision to host the equestrian competitions in Hong Kong will ensure the best possible conditions for the athletes and horses, and completes the venue plan for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. The IOC expects Hong Kong to take full advantage of this opportunity to develop its long-term provisions for sport, to encourage wide participation and to embrace the Olympic spirit,” he said.
Moving on to Beijing for a packed day of meetings, the IOC Coordination Commission working group considered progress made by BOCOG on a full range of Olympic Games preparations issues, from venue construction to ceremonies, and from city operations to the environment. “We are already looking beyond physical infrastructure and operational aspects to the ways people here and around the world will be touched by the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games,” said Verbruggen. “The work we are doing now should ensure these will be remembered as great Games, leaving a positive sporting, economic and social legacy,” he continued.
Liu Jingmin, BOCOG Executive Vice-President, commented on the visit: “We have been particularly happy to finalise the location plan, which has been created to ensure effective venue use following the Olympic Games. The IOC has helped us to learn from past Olympic Games host cities. We are using a combination of existing, new and temporary facilities, with some of them located on university campuses to ensure long-term demand. We are also making good progress on the social dimension of the Olympic Games; the coming months will see exciting announcements, including the design of the mascots.”
The Games of the XXIX Olympiad – Beijing 2008 will take place from 8 to 24 August 2008. The Games in Beijing will play host to the 28 summer sports currently on the Olympic programme. Approximately 10,500 athletes are expected to participate in the Games, with around 20,000 accredited media bringing the Games to the world. The full IOC Coordination Commission will visit Beijing and the Qingdao sailing venue in November, while IOC Olympic Games Knowledge Management workshops on Games preparations issues regularly take place in Beijing.