Demonstrators to be kept away from main Beijing venues amid concerns over security.
With the fourth and final batch of tickets going on sale, hot and dusty conditions did little to deter large crowds from gathering at one of the main counters near the main Olympic stadium.
“Once the newspapers released the news about the ticket sale, too many people came at once so we had a security problem,” said Xiong Xingguo, a district police chief.
Several people were dragged from the lines and taken away by police.
‘Worth the wait’
|Some 50,000 people jostled to buy tickets for events in Beijing [Reuters]|
Lei Peng, an engineering graduate, slept on the footpath for two nights and survived the jostling to walk away with two tickets to one of the hottest event of the Games – the final of the men’s 110m hurdles.
“It was hard but worth it,” said the 23-year-old from Anhui province. “I never came close to quitting, because I just kept focused on those tickets.”
State media reports said police arrested dozens of touts over the last two months for selling tickets at a massive profit even though scalping has been outlawed.
About 75 per cent of the seven million tickets up for sale throughout the games went to China’s vast domestic audience, while the rest were made available overseas through each country’s National Olympic Committee.
The last-minute rush comes as Olympic fever picks up pace in China with just a fortnight to go to the opening ceremony.
Also on Friday China unveiled its biggest ever Olympics team, with more than 600 athletes including representatives in all 28 sports next month.
Many expect the team to score a first by dislodging the United States from the top of the medal table.
The Chinese team includes Liu Xiang, the world sprint hurdles champion and Yao Ming, the NBA All Star as part of the host nation’s 1,099-member delegation which includes officials and coaches.
China’s fearsome state-run sports schools are targeting medals in relatively low-profile sports such as shooting, women’s weightlifting, rowing, boxing and cycling.
The Chinese are also expected to deliver in three sports they always dominate – diving, badminton and table tennis.