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Interview: Beijing to host a magnificent Olympics
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20:09, June 30, 2008

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Dave Currie, the chef de mission of the New Zealand Olympic Team to Beijing, said the Beijing Organizing Committee has done a great job and he was confident that Beijing will host a magnificent Olympics in August.

In an interview with Xinhua, Currie, who has been to China several times in the past three years, said he was quite impressed by Beijing's sports venues and the Olympic Village and the "Green Olympics" ideas.

Beijing has planted millions of trees in the past years and exerted greater efforts to improve air quality and curb pollution, he said.

He was confident the air quality will not affect the athletes during the Beijing Olympics and the food will be safe in the Olympic Village.

In 1908, 100 years ago, New Zealand sent its first athletes to the London Olympics. This year, its 1000th Olympian will attend the Beijing Olympics.

New Zealand will send one of its biggest teams ever to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games -- some 180 athletes and 120 coaches and managers. It will be the 16th largest team in terms of members during the Beijing Olympics. "It is a big team in terms of a small country with only a population of over 4 million," Currie said.

"We are into our final preparation. The first of this group arrive in Beijing on July 19 to formally register the Team with the organizers of the Games. The rest of the group arrive over the following week as we transform the New Zealand section of the villages in Beijing, Hong Kong and Qingdao into New Zealand characteristics. We'll welcome the first team into the village on July 28," he said.

The New Zealand team got three gold medals and two silvers at the Athens Olympics and Currie was confident the New Zealand team will have better performance at the Beijing Olympics.

The New Zealand Olympic Committee has adopted a stricter rule in selecting the athletes. Only those among the World Top 16 are qualified to compete at the Beijing Olympics.

"In the past year, we have 30 athletes among the World Top 8 and 17 athletes among the Top 3," Currie said.

The New Zealand team boasts advantages in rowing, sailing, equestrian, triathlon, tracking field and swimming. "I hope they will perform better," Currie said.

The New Zealand team's uniform at the opening ceremony will not be unveiled until the opening ceremony starts on Aug. 8. "It is a secret, I can only tell you that the uniforms will reflect the New Zealand characteristics and the strong historical links between New Zealand and China," said Currie.

Source: Xinhua

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