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FISU president: China capable of holding Winter Olympics
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18:59, February 16, 2009

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President George Killian of the International University Sports Federation (FISU) was unsparing of praise for the excellent preparation of northeastern Chinese city Harbin for the 24th Winter Universiade, saying China is "absolutely capable" of holding Winter Olympic Games.

Killian arrived in the city on Saturday to attend the biennial university games, which is set to open on Wednesday. "Harbin is already for the Games. We are going to open a new chapter in the history of FISU on Feb. 18," he told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.

He believes Harbin is absolutely capable of holding a best-ever Winter Universiade, which offers great stage for worldwide university athletes to show their talents.

China has invested a total of 2.6 billion yuan (US$370 million) to build or upgrade the sport facilities for the Winter Universiade. All the 47 sports and accommodating facilities for the games have completed constructing and renovating by the end of November, 2008. Among them, skating rinks, skiing courses and transportation networks have all been upgraded.

Praising the outstanding venues, Killian said not only athletes but also tourists and sports lovers from all of the world would be attracted to the city to enjoy the most advanced sports facilities.

Harbin could draw lots of experience from the Winter Universiade, which lays solid foundation for the city to bid for future Winter Olympic Games, said the 85-year-old.

At an executive conference of FISU on Jan. 10 of 2005 in Innsbruck of Austria, Killian declared Harbin won the right to host2009 Winter Universiade. Since then, the city spares no efforts in infrastructure construction, marketing as well as city planning to prepare for the Games.

China's biggest ski resort Yabuli and another resort Maoershan, 200 and 80 kilometers away from Harbin respectively, were assigned to hold the skiing events. To meet the needs of the Universiade, the two resorts had launched many reconstruction projects and upgrades, and had so far successfully held three National Winter Games and one Winter Asiad.

"After few years' construction, Maoershan had turned from a small village into a ski resort with advanced facilities," said Killian, adding athletes from all over the world would definitely have a great time here during the upcoming Games.

Serving as FISU president for almost a decade, Killian said he could find brand-new and surprising changes every time when he was back to China. "I was deeply impressed by the excellent infrastructure of Harbin and the enthusiasm and hospitality of the Chinese people," he noted

The 11-day competitions attracted a record high of about 4,000 athletes from 44 countries and regions. They will compete in 81 events in 12 sports.

Source: Xinhua

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