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Village welcomes New Zealand athletes
15:38, July 30, 2008

The New Zealand Olympic village was ready to welcome athletes with a taste of home when the first team arrived in the Beijing Village yesterday.

The men's football team arrived from New Zealand to prepare for their competition which begins next Monday – four days before the official opening.

Chef de Mission Dave Currie said the athlete support team - including medical, communications and operations staff - are all in place and have set up the New Zealand team base.

"We are delighted with how the Olympic Village has been completed. The general facilities, the green areas and the attention to detail is very impressive.”

The Village, close to downtown Beijing, covers virtually one square kilometre and incorporates 20 nine-storey and 22 six-storey accommodation buildings to house the 15000 athletes and team officials. There are also service centres, major hosting areas, a dining facility that can seat 5000, and international zone.

The services team led by Dave Currie, assistant Chef de Mission Tony Popplewell, NZOC staffers Jake Wilkins and Robyn Wong and team support Dallas Seymour and Alison Fitch have set up the New Zealand base.

"Everyone has worked extremely hard. Dallas, especially, has done a tremendous job giving our quarters a distinct New Zealand feel and setting us aside from all of the other teams here. Outside, our building features two 30m banners with images of New Zealand. Inside our lounge area is brighteed up with cartoon characters from Bro'Town which always make us smile. "

New Zealand is nestled beside the teams from Sweden and Switzerland.

The services team were treated to four clear days and temperatures in the high 30C degrees which has given way to several hazy days with lower temperatures and higher humidity.

Athens gold medallist Sarah Ulmer also arrived today to take up her role in the athlete services team.

Shooter Yang Wang and New Zealand's first woman slalom kayaker, Luucas Jones arrived today and the rowing team are due to arrive in later tonight. A steady flow of athletes and support staff over the coming weeks will swell the numbers to over 200.

By People's Daily Online

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