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Beijing on track for 'great Games' says IOC

April 30, 2008 12:57 IST

Beijing 2008 Olympics organisers are on track to stage "great Games" the International Olympic Committee said on Wednesday, as the Chinese were to mark the 100-day countdown to the opening ceremony with festivities.

Beijing has completed construction of its 31 venues and is staging a series of test events to try out venue operations ahead of the Aug. 8-24 Olympics. Other infrastructure works including a new airport terminal and subway lines will further improve the city's operations.

But while logistical preparations have been progressing smoothly, the Beijing Games have been hit by protests and controversy regarding China's policies on Tibet and the Darfur region of Sudan as well as the country's human rights record and pollution concerns.

"The Beijing Organising Committee has put a tremendous amount of effort into putting on great Games for the athletes," the IOC said in a statement.

"It is currently fine-tuning its operations and we are satisfied by the assurances that we have received across a number of areas of Games preparations, ranging from media service levels to environmental contingency plans for improved air quality."


Beijing has pumped in a total of about $40 billion to stage the Games and the IOC is eager to see the Games succeed in tapping into one fifth of the world's population.

While Games organisers are not directly linked with Tibet and human rights issues, the international debate and protests have tainted the run-up to the Games.

The IOC has backed Chinese organisers, saying politics should be left out of a sporting event like the Olympics which is a "force for good."

Pollution during the Games has also been a nagging long-standing concern, with the IOC assuring athletes certain events which demand increased physical efforts for more than one hour could be rescheduled if the air quality was poor on the day.

Organisers have pledged to pull up to a million cars from the capital's streets during the Games to further reduce pollution.

"The 100 days ahead will bring mounting excitement and energy to Beijing. Citizens and visitors will see the city continue to transform itself, as it welcomes athletes, the media and spectators for the final test events, as well as for the Games themselves," the IOC said.

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