IOC Coordination Commission working group visits Beijing and Hong Kong
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, and also to Hong Kong, where the equestrian competitions will take place.
The Hong Kong visit is the first made by Chairman Verbruggen and his team 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 equestrian competitions in Hong Kong. This decision, taken following difficulties in establishing an equine disease-free zone in Beijing, means 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 also Hong Kong sport long after the Olympic and Paralympic Games are over.
“We were very impressed by the proposed venues for the equestrian competitions in Hong Kong and the preparatory work there”, said IOC Coordination Commission Chairman Hein 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, from city operations to the environment.
“With less than three years to go, 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”, added 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 said.
Liu Jingmin, BOCOG Executive Vice-President, said: “We have been delighted to welcome the IOC back to Beijing for fruitful meetings. 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 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.