Monday, August 1, 2011

An Asiad for the ages

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Japanese athlete Kazuaki Murakami (left) struggles with India's Singh Manpreet during their Kabaddi round-robin match at the 15th Asian Games in Doha in December 2006.

Organizers of the 16th Asian Games are sparing no efforts to ensure a world-class sports event in the Guangdong provincial capital in November.

Xu Ruisheng, executive deputy secretary general of the Guangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee (GAGOC) and Vice-Mayor of Guangzhou, urged the relevant departments to bring out their best in the last sprint to the Games.

"The preparation work for the Asian Games has now entered the final stage, and we have already got ready for the opening of the Games," Xu said.

"But we will not slacken our efforts (in preparation work) in the coming weeks. And the work in three co-host cities is also going smoothly."

The Games will be held in Guangzhou, know as "a city of flowers", between Nov 12 and 27. More than 15,000 athletes, trainers and coaches from 45 countries and regions in Asia will compete in a record 42 sports that offer a total of 476 titles.

Contributing to the uniqueness of the event, the Guangzhou Asiad will include new events including cricket, dance sports, dragon boat races, weiqi, Xiangqi and roller sports.

"We will have 14 special and non-Olympic events at the Asian Games," Xu said. "The Asian Games provide an ideal platform for Guangzhou to promote itself as a city of sport."

The coming Asiad will be the largest in Games' history, and Guangzhou will be the second Chinese city to host the Games after Beijing in 1990.

The event will use 53 venues for competitions and another 17 independent venues for training. Those venues were handed over to the organizers at the end of last month.

To better serve the grand sports gala, more than 5,000 university students have been recruited as special assistants during the Games. The students, now under special training programs, will work in the Asian Games Town and other major competition and training venues. Also, Guangzhou residents are eager to volunteer at the Games, according to Wang Huanqing, director of the volunteers department of GAGOC. A total of 921,689 applications had been submitted to the organizers by the deadline of Aug 1.

To help ease traffic congestion, an odds and evens car-plate rule, which was used during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, will be implemented in Guangzhou. As compensation, local vehicle owners are entitled to a three-month exemption of the annual fee and vehicle tax. In addition, a 125-kilometer section encompassing 15 roads will be dedicated to Games vehicles from 6 am to 11 am from Nov 1 to Dec 21.

Moreover, government agencies, public institutions and State-owned enterprises will postpone working hours by half an hour, which may keep more than 100,000 people out of rush-hour traffic. That is expected to result in an eight percent reduction in passengers on the public transport system, according to Gao Xiang, an official with city's transport commission.

Also, the Guangzhou police authority has invested 2 billion yuan ($29 million) in security for the Games. It has drawn up 1,698 security measures for the event, which exceeds the 910 drafted for the Beijing Olympics, as well as 151 guidelines and 36 policies. The police will mobilize 800,000 security guards and volunteers to help patrol the Games while additional policemen are expected to join them from other forces.

Guangzhou is using a variety of high-tech measures to ensure air quality is up to scratch.

As of Sept 1, owners of large-sized vehicles have been ordered to use the highest national standard of gasoline, which causes less pollution. The city's environmental protection bureau has set up 29 checkpoints to monitor automobile emissions along with four mobile units. Since Aug 1, the bureau has also carried out checks on vehicles' emission control systems to make sure they are working correctly.

About 30 percent of the 9,300 government cars and the city's police cars will be off the road from Oct 12 to Dec 22 in order to decrease pollution emissions, said Li Zhuo, director of the motor pollution control office, Guangzhou environmental protection bureau.

Meanwhile, all construction sites in the city, except those with special authorization, will be asked to stop building from the end of this month to the end of December, said Zhang Guangning, secretary of the Guangzhou Party committee.

The highly polluted capital of Guangdong province began to look at improving its air quality after it won its bid to host the Games in July 2004.

"It's not just an emergency package to limit air pollution," said Jian Jianyang, director of the pollution control division at the environmental protection bureau. "It's a long-term measure and we see the Games as an opportunity to achieve it quicker."

Five odd sports

Dance Sports

Asian Games debut: 2010 Guangzhou

Dance Sports are generally defined as partner dancing, with the man and woman using the required technique together with floor-craft and artistic interpretation to produce a highly disciplined dance performance.


Asian Games debut: 1990 Beijing

Kabaddi was probably invented to ward off group attacks in ancient times. It is basically a combative sport, with seven players on each side and played in two 20-minute halves. The core idea is to score points by raiding into the opponent's court and touching as many of its players as possible without getting caught on a single attempt.

Dragon Boat

Asian Games debut: 2010 Guangzhou

The history of Dragon Boat racing goes back more than 2,200 years and has its roots in the legend of Qu Yuan and the sacrifice he made for his country in the third century BC, when he drowned himself in the Milo River, in Southern China, in protest against the corrupt regimes of that period.


Asian Games debut: 1990 Beijing

It is generally believed that sepaktakraw was played as early as the 9th century. It is played on a court with a hand-woven ball (takraw) by teams made up of two or three people. Points are scored by hitting the ball above the net and into the court as the opposing players attempt to block. Players can use their feet, legs, shoulders and head but not their hands.

Roller Sports

Asian Games debut: 2010 Guangzhou

Roller Sports developed from ice skating. In 1863, New Yorker James Plimpton solved the problem of controlling skates when he used a rubber cushion to anchor the axles. From then on, Roller Sports have spread all over the world.

(China Daily)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.