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Olympic regatta sails into history
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08:35, August 25, 2008

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The Sailing Regatta of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games came to an end with a spectacular farewell party on Saturday, marking the conclusion of what International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge called a "most successful" event.

The Beijing Olympic organizing committee also praised the effort in a letter sent to the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Committee, expressing appreciation for the enormous effort and organization required.

Altogether 400 athletes from 62 countries and regions with 272 sailing boats completed 117 races in nine classes at the Olympic sailing competition. Eleven gold medals were awarded in Qingdao.

The Chinese sailing team won one gold and one bronze, setting a new record in competitive sailing for China.

"We presented the world a unique and high-class Olympic sailing event and Qingdao deserves the world's trust and the favor of history," said Xia Geng, mayor of Qingdao, at Saturday's party.

The event drew wide acclaim from 108 VIP groups, including officials from the International Sailing Federation.

Among the achievements cited were the design, building and operation of the Qingdao Olympic Village, which provided an excellent living environment for athletes.

"This time in Qingdao I saw such a beautiful Olympic Village, which was still under construction a year ago. Great changes also took place in the city with many new, nice buildings," said Gilbert Felli, IOC executive director.

More than 200,000 spectators visited Qingdao's theme park and breakwater - the first of its kind in Olympic history - during the competition, while six observation boats accommodated 6,323 passengers.

More than 1,800 venue volunteers together with 1,000 city volunteers and 10,000 from the public sector donated their time and effort for the competition.

Publicity and media operations went smoothly as 25 media outlets from 20 countries and regions had operations at the Olympic regatta. Almost 300 accredited journalists from China and abroad covered the races.

A multi-dimensional security system on land, sea, air and under the water operated well throughout the event. A delegation from Britain - host of the 2012 Games - came to Qingdao to learn more about the Olympics security.

Richard Bryan, director of the delegation, said Qingdao did a good job.

"London will hold the next Olympics. We hope that we will have more chances to communicate with Qingdao organizers and take some of that experience back to London," he said.

Chinese sailing gold medalist Yin Jian said simply: "Qingdao has been a great blessing to me."

Source: China Daily

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