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7 September 2007, 10:27 am
Test Event Venue Review
Image of the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Centre
The Qingdao Olympic Sailing Centre

Qingdao International Regatta 2007
Qingdao, China

The 2007 test event again demonstrated the fantastic facilities of the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Centre and the amazing enthusiasm for the sport in the city. We review the venue and organization of this year's regatta?
From 9-24 August, Qingdao played hosted to over 350 of the world's best sailors in a dress rehearsal for the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition. Again the city demonstrated its enthusiasm for sailing, with huge banners adorning skyscrapers and flyovers, over 300,000 people applying for volunteer positions, whilst the organizers reported an incredible total of over 80,000 spectators across the nine days of competition.

Legacy

The city is also looking beyond 2008 and at the legacy of next year's Olympic Sailing Competition. With the aim of encouraging the city's youth out onto the water, 1,000 boats have been purchased through partnerships with local businesses, clinics have been organized to kick start the learning process and sailing has been introduced onto the curriculum of local schools. The National Technical Officers have also gained invaluable experience working alongside a race official's team containing a large proportion of the world's most experienced measurers, juries and race officers.

Hein VERBRUGGEN, Chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission for the Beijing Games, visited Qingdao during this year's test event and commented on the city's desire to not only host a fantastic Olympic Sailing Competition, but build a future for the sport in the Qingdao as well.

'The thing that makes a strong impression on us is that the entire city is fully dedicated to the sport of sailing - this is very striking. Sailing will be the spirit and legacy of Qingdao. This is not only about the Olympic sailing events, but after the games are over, it is clear that Qingdao will continue this strong and successful sailing legacy,' he said.

Venue

In the 12 months since the last test event in Qingdao there had been plenty of changes. Most obvious was the new administration building which housed the key elements of the organization and all the Race Officials teams and jury rooms. In total, over US $430 million has been invested in creating the venue, with the Athletes Village the only major development yet to be completed.

The venue has also been carefully constructed to fall in line with the mantra of 'The Green Olympics'. In addition to the massive clean up involved in constructing venue of the former site of the Beihai Shipyard, the Media centre uses sea water air conditioning, the Athletes Centre is roofed with solar panels, whilst there are 168 solar lamps dotted around the shore of sailing centre and the breakwater features of row of electricity-generating windmills.

During his visit to Qingdao, ISAF President Goran PETERSSON called it 'the best venue I have ever seen for an Olympic sailing event,' and was not alone in expressing this sentiment.

As well as the work on the venue there were also a number of new additions which will feature at next year's Games; an additional race course, a 'measurement quarantine' before the Medal Races and a new victory track and medal ceremony.

These additions, together with the hard work and dedication of the organizing committee, 1,400+ volunteers and race officials team, all added up to a very successful test event.

Fine-Tuning

'We are down to the fine-tuning stage now,' said ISAF Vice-President David KELLETT, Technical Delegate for the 2008 Olympic Games, on the final day of competition. 'There are some little problems, but nothing major that needs to be addressed. The Athlete's Village will come in line next year, and that will be a huge improvement. As you all saw from the exciting sailing yesterday, the upcoming Olympics will be a great success.'

KELLETT reserved special praise for the organizing committee and, in particular, the volunteers. There were over 1,400 volunteers working in the venue with an additional 370 across the city, with task varying from collection flash quotes to distributing results, checking accreditation to transportation and translation. By the end of the event, the organizers estimated 250,000 hours service from the volunteer teams.

As stunning as the venue is, it is this enthusiasm, passion, organization and hard work which is the most striking feature of the two test events for the Olympic Sailing Competition. These attributes together with the infrastructure already in place, mean that Qingdao can expect to host a terrific 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition.

ISAF
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