International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials gave thumbs-up on Tuesday to Beijing's preparations for the 2008 Games as they started a three-day inspection tour.
"The progress is fantastic and we can say that no time is lost, " said Hein Verbrugeen, president of the IOC's coordination commission for the 2008 Games.
Verbruggen said he was marveled at what he saw on a tour of the construction sites of venues for the 2008 Games, including the showpiece main stadium, which is known as "Bird's Nest" for its giant latticework structure of metal girders, and the "Water Cube" aquatics center.
"Looking at the 'Bird's Nest', I believe that this will be a future icon of Beijing as the Opera is in Sydney," he said.
"It is an incredible construction. I'm sure that it will go to history as the icon of your beautiful city next to the Forbidden City."
About 60 per cent of the steel structure for the stadium, which was desgined by a consortium led by Swiss architects Herzog and De Meuron, is complete and the remainder should be finished by the end of this year, according to the Beijing Organzing Committee (BOCOG).
Kenyan IOC delegate Kip Keino said he was impressed by the speed of the construction work in the Chinese capital.
"We came here last time, there was nothing on the ground," said the former double Olympic gold medallist at 1,500 meters and the steeplechase, as he visited the site of the convention center.
A total of 17,000 workers are being employed at all construction sites right now, said Jin Yan, chief of the Beijing 2008 Project Construction Headquarter Office.
During the sixth full meeting of the 2008 Coordination Commission which runs through Thursday, the IOC inspectors will also hear reports on security, communications, ceremonies, the environment and technology.