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Home >> Sports
UPDATED: 08:13, May 19, 2006
Beijing secures vote of confidence from IOC inspectors
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International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief inspector Hein Verbruggen said on Thursday that he was confident that Beijing would successfully tackle traffic and environmental problems before it hosts the Olympic Games in 2008.

Verbruggen, chairman of the IOC's coordination commission for the Beijing Games, made the remarks at a press conference before concluding a three-day inspection visit to the Chinese capital.

"Considerable progress has been made, there are certainly still challenges ahead of us," said Verbruggen, referring to the improvement in Beijing's environment.

"We are very confident that they will deliver the promises that they had made. No reason to doubt that."

The Beijing municipal government has invested heavily to improve its environment since it won the right to host the 2008 Games. It spent 60 billion yuan (7.5 billion US dollars) on pollution control projects between 2000 and 2005.

Despite the frequent sandstorms that have hit Beijing this spring, local officials are still optimistic that the 2008 Games will be "Green Olympics".

"We will try our best to achieve better air quality by 2008 to welcome the athletes and the Olympic Family," said Jiang Xiaoyu, executive vice-president of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2008 Olympics (BOCOG).

Heavy traffic has long been a headache for Beijing and thus raised concerns for the 2008 Games, but Jiang said the city is drafting provisional plans to ensure the smooth running of the Games.

"Besides building more roads and enhancing the traffic management system, Beijing is also considering implementing provisional regulations to guarantee smooth traffic during games time," said Jiang.

Verbruggen said he was not concerned with Beijing's traffic conditions although they are really "busy" at present.

"It should not be a problem for the games, but I can imagine it should be a problem for the people who have to plan for the traffic system," he said.

"We believe that they will come up with plans that will not affect too much the games."

The coordination commission on Tuesday had a tour of the construction sites of venues, including the showpiece main stadium, which is known as "Bird's Nest" for its giant latticework structure of metal girders, and the "Water Cube" aquatic center.

Verbruggen heaped praises on the venues.

"You cannot think of any other word than stunning when we described the feelings we had when we saw the 'Bird's Nest' and the aquatic center," he said.

Source: Xinhua

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