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Monday, July 17, 2000, updated at 09:38(GMT+8)

So Far So Good for Beijing

Beijing has got a big thumbs-up for its efforts to prepare for the 21st Universiade (student games).

The "pat on the back" came as the International University Sports Federation (FISU) completed its week-long investigation into the city's preparations for next year.

"I am really delighted with the progress that the organizing committee is making here in Beijing for the Universiade 2001 - the progress is a phenomenon, and we are very happy," George E. Killian, president of the FISU, said.

"There are still things that need to be done, but they are minor and the organizing committee is co-operative. So things are going well."

Since 1998, when Beijing was told it could hold the 21st Universiade, it did everything it possibly could to prepare for its first major international sporting event.

A Universiade Village will be completed by April next year, which will accommodate around 8,000 athletes and sports officials.

And wireless transfer of information between computers will be realized during the competition period from August 22 to September 2 next year.

It is the first time for such advanced technology to be adopted at an international sporting event.

Preparations for medical care, weather forecasts, and volunteers' services are also under way.

Beijing's efforts for the 21st Universiade also won praise from delegations of Taegu, a South Korean city which succeeded on Saturday in its bid to hold the 2003 Summer Universiade.

"Beijing's experience is quite helpful for us to prepare for the 2003 Summer Universiade. We will come in 2001 to take a look at all the facilities and events, and hopefully we can learn something," Mun Hee-gab, mayor of Taegu, said.

"There has been a great deal of progress in the development of Beijing since I first came here 13 years ago. And I think Beijing will hold the best ever Universiade in history," Mun added.

Beijing displayed its potential and capacity to hold world sports events by organizing the 21st Universiade.

And the city has issued its bid for the 2008 Olympics.

"I think you have a good chance for 2008, and you will have a better chance in 2008 when people have an opportunity to see how well you have done with the Universiade 2001, because one builds on the other," Killian said.

"What you have to do, in my opinion, is to have 80,000 (spectators) at the opening ceremony and have 70,000 at the closing ceremony."

"And every time you organize a game - volleyball, gymnastics whatever, it is better that the place is packed.

"People who want to see the games are comfortably seated, and then when the newspapers write about the games - 'Oh, the team played in front of 17,000 people.' Then the Olympic officials will regard the country as a good place to go," Killian suggested.

Also on Saturday, the FISU made an official announcement that Taegu, of South Korea, and Tarvisio, of Italy, will host the 2003 Summer and Winter Universiade respectively.

And Izmir in Turkey was chosen to hold the 2005 Summer Universiade.

FISU President George E. Killian left Beijing yesterday, and he will be back in two or three months.

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Beijing has got a big thumbs-up for its efforts to prepare for the 21st Universiade (student games).

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