Beijing gets IOC green light
Chief Olympic inspector says 2008 Games preparations are on target.
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2007 11:31 GMT

A traditonal Chinese fan dance wasn't enough to improve Beijing's air pollution [GALLO/GETTY]

Hein Verbruggen, Chief Olympic inspector, foresees no "risks or dangers" in the preparations for next year's Beijing Games, although the problem of air pollution was being closely monitored.
Verbruggen, speaking at the end of the penultimate three-day visit of the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) inspection team on Thursday, said he was confident the Games would be of the highest standard even if there was still much detailed work to be done over the remaining 288 days.
"There is nothing, and I repeat nothing that is any risk or danger for the organisation of next year's Games," said Verbruggen, who is chairman of the IOC's coordination commission.
"We look towards a lot of green lights as far as the preparations of these Games for next year are concerned... our friends here are doing a perfect job to make these Games a great Games."
A report by the United Nations Environmental Programme released on Thursday said Beijing was on course to hold a Green Olympics but air quality remained a problem.

"There is nothing, and I repeat nothing that is any risk or danger for the organisation of next year's Games."

Hein Verbruggen,
Chief Olympic inspector

Verbruggen said it was a concern and that the IOC and Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG) were monitoring the situation "from day to day".
"Let there be no misunderstanding," the Dutchman said.
"This is a health issue, it would be almost insulting that we would not take this seriously, we remain confident that this will be addressed sufficiently."
Jiang Xiaoyu, BOCOG executive vice president, said Beijing would continue its multibillion dollar project to clean up the city's smog but had also planned some contingency measures for during the Games.
Air pollution worries
The measures could include taking 1.3 million cars off the city's roads, as happened during a test project in August, and tackling big polluting factories in the suburbs.
"If air quality fails to meet the standards, then we will take some measures to limit their production," Xiaoyu said.
"We have to analyse the test data then make proposals and submit it to relevant government departments."
Asked whether there was any chance that endurance events might be moved from Beijing if the air quality was poor, Verbruggen was emphatic.
"There is not a remote chance of events not taking place here," he said.
Verbruggen said the IOC were also monitoring delays in the construction of the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) on the Olympic Green.
"The failure of one supplier delayed the construction of a wall which in turn put us behind schedule," Jiang said.
"But we believe the construction of the IBC will be completed by the end of the year."
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