Qingdao Olympic village officially opens

2008-07-27 07:08:06 GMT       2008-07-27 15:08:06 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

QINGDAO, July 27 (Xinhua) -- Qingdao Olympic village officially opened on Sunday when it received 14 sailing teams including Japan, Brazil, Spain and China.

"We will try our best to provide a safe, comfortable, cozy and pleasant home for athletes," said Zang Aimin, head of the Qingdao Olympic village and executive vice-president of the Sailing Committee (Qingdao) of Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad.

"They can also experience oriental culture and Qingdao characteristics here," he added.

Decorated with Chinese paper cuts, water paintings and kites, the dwelling district for the Olympic sailors has special display room for folk culture, where craftsmen perform Chinese traditional arts like sugar painting, paper cutting and metal sculpting.

It also has a Chinese painting learning area where athletes and visitors can learn calligraphy. They can also taste a special Qingdao tea in the tea ceremony area and relax in the Chinese massage room.

"The service here is fantastic. Every detail is impressive. The volunteers are perfect," said Lilian Fiedler, logistic official of Brazilian Olympic sailing team, whose 21 staff have checked in the Olympic village.

"Our star sailor Robert Scheidt got a room with the number '8'. I guess that's the luckiest number in China. We will have good luck here, I believe."

Apostolos Karnoutsos, coach for the Finn category of the Greek Olympic sailing team, said he was satisfied with the distance of the village to the sailing marina.

"It is just minutes of walk. Last time in Athens, I lived in my own apartment, because it was much closer to the marina than from the Olympic village," he said.

Located in the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center, Qingdao Olympic village is the closest to the Olympic venues among the three Olympic villages for the Beijing Olympics. Its 400 rooms will accommodate 700 athletes and officials from more than 60 countries and regions for the 2008 Olympic Sailing Regatta on Aug. 9-23.

"The Olympic village is more than expecting. It's so beautiful. The air here is clean and the water is good," said Gilbert Felli, the International Olympic Committee's Olympic Games executive director, at the opening ceremony.

"Remember you have a fantastic tool in your hand and you should not forget the legacy. I am sure I can see many sailors coming to Qingdao in the future."

After the Olympic Games, the Olympic village will be transformed into an international aquatic sports center, as well as a leisure place for citizens and tourists.

I have comments _COUNT_