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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, May 26, 2006

Beijing shifting from planning to playing

 •  Canadian protesters arrested

By Leila Wai
Advertiser Staff Writer

China will host test events starting in August in preparation for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, including international softball and sailing, according to a member of its organizing committee.

Wei Wang, Executive Vice President and Secretary General of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games, is on a panel that is part of an Asia Pacific Sports Workshop at the University of Hawai'i's East West Center.

"This year will witness the shift of our focus from planning to venue operation," said Wang, who said the test events begin with this year's International Softball Federation Women's World Championships and an International Sailing Regatta.

The 2008 Beijing Olympics are Aug. 8 to 24. Sixteen athletes with Hawai'i ties participated in the 2004 Athens Olympics, including decathlon silver medalist Bryan Clay.

Wang said in all, 40 trial events are planned, including 28 next year, leading up to the Olympics, and by 2008, Beijing will be ready with enough sporting venues, hotels and beds to support visitors in the country of 1.3 billion people.

Joining Wang at the luncheon yesterday were Chris Renner, the managing partner of Prescient Marketing, a Beijing-based consulting agency specializing in sports marketing in Asia, and Winnie Chan, the director of On Your Mark Marketing.

With 28 sports and 302 events planned, Wang said the competition schedule has been approved, and will take place in 37 venues, including 31 in Beijing.

Calling Beijing "a great metropolis" that is "at once ancient in traditions and yet useful in vitality," Wang said the host city would be ready with 4,890 hotels and 517,000 beds. About 60,000 to 70,000 are expected to volunteer.

Reach Leila Wai at lwai@honoluluadvertiser.com.