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Home >> Sports
UPDATED: 08:02, September 18, 2006
Supporting structure of main Olympic stadium removed
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Construction work on the National Stadium, a showpiece venue for the 2008 Olympic Games, passed a crucial step on Sunday when its supporting structure was successfully removed.

Over three days the 78 steel gantries holding up the 42,000 tons of twisted steel were taken off.

"From today on, the stadium can stand on its own feet," Hou Zhaoxin, a leading expert at the Olympic projects construction headquarters, told reporters at the construction site.

Zhang Hengli, deputy general manager of the National Stadium Company, called it one of the milestones of the project, which got underway in December 2003.

"We've used a lot of high-tech and new materials so far because of the complexity of the design, so successfully removing the support structure is very meaningful," he said.

The 91,000-seat National Stadium, known as "Bird's Nest" for its giant latticework structure of metal girders, will host the opening and closing ceremonies and athletics events at the 2008 Games.

The 3.13 billion yuan (394 million US dollars) stadium is scheduled for completion by the end of 2007.

A total of 37 competition venues are needed for the 2008 Olympics. Construction is well underway on 26 of the 31 venues in Beijing and the main structures of most will be finished by the end of the year, officials said.

Source: Xinhua

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