At the ISAF Annual Conference on Friday 11 November, the Qingdao Organizing Committee gave an impressive presentation on the ongoing preparations for the Olympics.
With three years lying ahead before the Games commence, the IOC confirmed its satisfaction with the state of preparations at this stage of the seven year preparatory phase. In addition, the IOC emphasized its confidence that the Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad Beijing 2008 (BOCOG) and the Chinese authorities are tackling the Games-related issues which go beyond the purely technical sporting aspects, through, for example, their initiatives to make the Games 'Green Olympic Games' and 'People's Olympic Games.'
Commenting on the meetings, VERBRUGGEN said, 'With more than a 1,000 days remaining until the Beijing 2008 Games, we have been able to confirm the excellent efforts being made by BOCOG and the Chinese authorities to ensure the sports competitions will be held in the best possible conditions.' He continued, 'Conditions for the athletes are our primary focus. With the work being done to serve the athletes progressing so well, we have also been able to carefully consider the other aspects that will make the Olympic Games here special.
'This week, the IOC has looked at the work being done to ensure BOCOG succeeds in its initiatives to make these Green Olympic Games and People's Olympic Games, with strong starts in the areas of environmental awareness and sports legacy,' continued VERBRUGGEN.
Praising the quality of the work achieved to date, VERBRUGGEN also stressed the importance of integration across the different working areas within the Organizing Committee (BOCOG) as the organizers shift from a planning to an operational mode. 'As BOCOG shifts from planning to operations, thorough integration is required to ensure all areas work together effectively. We are confident that at Games-time, BOCOG will reap the rewards of work undertaken in the coming months to ensure that integration throughout the organization and with all Games stakeholders is complete,' he said.
Making specific reference to the successful Olympic Movement and Beijing 2008 international media seminar that took place in parallel to the IOC Coordination Commission meetings, IOC Press Commission Chairman Kevan GOSPER added, 'I am very happy that distinguished Olympic journalists from around the world were able to join the IOC and BOCOG in Beijing this week, to share their knowledge, experience and expectations of Olympic reporting with a Beijing-based audience. It was very encouraging to see not only a greater understanding emerging of the very high quality work being done to prepare for the Games, but also the creation of a forum for discussion and learning.'
BOCOG President LIU Qi said, 'BOCOG has been very happy to welcome the IOC to Beijing and to Qingdao for very good meetings. We are also pleased to have been able to report good progress to the IOC as we aim to deliver high level Games with distinguishing features. BOCOG is very happy that the world will start to see more of those distinguishing features, starting today, with the mascot unveiling.'
The Games of the XXIX Olympiad - Beijing 2008 will take place from 8-24 August 2008. The Games in Beijing will play host to the 28 summer sports currently on the Olympic programme. Approximately 10,500 athletes are expected to participate in the Games with around 20,000 accredited media bringing the Games to the world. The next full meeting of the IOC Coordination Commission is scheduled for May 2006. Smaller working group meetings take place on a regular basis and the IOC and BOCOG are in constant contact.