City Welcomes Sailors

As you arrive at Qingdao Airport, there is no doubting the significance of the first Test Event for the 2008 Olympics. The ISAF Grade 2 Qingdao International Regatta is the first Olympic Test Event for any sport in China. Greeting you from the moment you arrive at Qingdao Airport are banners and posters welcoming the sailors of the world.

A welcome which continues from the airport through the city, to all the hosting hotels and onto the venue.

The banners convey a mixture of messages ‘Olympics Sail from Qingdao to the World’ and ‘Sail With Heart, Sail to Success’, and as well as supporting the sailors, invite the residents of Qingdao to ‘Be A Good Host’ and look after their foreign guests.

As a Test Event, the objective is literally to ‘test’ all facilities and systems, both on shore and on the water, from race management to security, first aid to athlete services – all elements of the competition and venue management will be put through their paces and evaluated. The regatta is taking place at the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Centre, located at the former Beihai Dockyard on Fushan Bay in East New Zone of Qingdao, China.

Venue Receives Applause

The Qingdao Olympic Sailing Centre is prepared, ready and waiting for the first Olympic Test Event to be held in China. Sailing has received a high profile as a result, and for the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) it is the first opportunity to see the planning and intense preparation come to fruition.

The venue, converted from a dockyard is impressive. David KELLETT (AUS), ISAF Vice-President and Technical Delegate for the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition, commented, ‘I had the privilege of being in Qingdao in 1999, when China was bidding to host the Olympics, and saw the venue as a dockyard. It is a credit to China and Qindgao that they have achieved their targets. Never before has an Olympic Organizing Committee been so far advanced in preparing the venue, and we can already see that this will be a magnificent facility.’

Sentiments echoed by many sailors, from whom the response ‘Fantastic’ has been the standard answer when asked their thoughts on the venue.

Whilst some buildings are yet to be completed for use, such as the media centre and the Athletes Village, the main venues are all complete and ready to host an Olympic Sailing Competition. The Athletes Village, which will house all the athletes and team officials, is still being constructed but is due to be completed and operational for the 2007 Test Event. Post-Olympics it will be taken over by a global hotel chain.

Ready for Competition

With the Practice Race taking place today, tomorrow will see the start of official racing for eight of the eleven Olympic events. Racing will take place over four race courses, with nine days of scheduled competition and two reserve days. The regatta will follow the format of the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition, with a ten race opening series (15 for the 49er), followed by a Medal Race between the top ten competitors. The Medal Race, scheduled for Wednesday 30 August, will be judged on the water and scored at double points, with letter scores counting double points based on the original fleet size.

ISAF caught up with Krystal WEIR (AUS), who holds a world ranking of 4 in the Laser Radial, as she came ashore from the practice race, ‘The conditions are challenging, and I am getting used to the current and the waves. This is an information gathering event for me.’ commented WEIR, before concluding ‘The venue is fantastic!’

Representing their nations are a total of 462 athletes, supported by accredited team officials of 223 persons. Almost 50 ISAF Race Officials are in Qingdao, who are working with the National Technical Officials on all the competition areas – race management, jury, measurement.

The Qingdao International Regatta has attracted over 300 accredited media, who will arrive at varying times across the duration of the event.

A volunteer population of more than 1,000 are providing essential services and support across all functional areas. Many of the volunteers are students, who plan to continue their support through the 2007 Test Event and the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition itself.

Bojan GALE (SLO), team leader for the Slovenian Team commented, ‘We are all very happy. The venue is great and all the arrangements and logistics to bring our sailors and equipment to Qingdao have been straightforward.’

Opening Ceremony Set To Light Up The Night

The Opening Ceremony will be a formal but fun affair, with a national flag parade, before being formally opened by the Mayor of Qingdao, and concluding with a fireworks display over the venue.

To be broadcast live on national television, the Ceremony will be attended by athletes, support staff, media, officials and key figures from the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG), including the Chairman of BOCOG Liu QI, who arrived at the venue this morning for a site visit. IOC Vice-President and former Vice-President of ISAF, Ng SER MIANG (SIN), will also be attending.

Complete results can be found on the event website http://www.2006qdregatta.com/.

Website Links:

Qingdao International Regatta – http://www.2006qdregatta.com/

International Sailing Federation (ISAF) – http://www.sailing.org/

Sailing Committee (Qingdao) of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad – www.sailing2008.org/defaulten.aspx

Beijing 2008 Olympic Games – http://www.beijing2008.com/

For further information contact:

Ding Xiaoyan (Lisa)
Project Manager
Communications and Media Operations Department
Sailing Committee (Qingdao) of Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad
Tel: + 86 532 8309 2101
Fax: + 86 532 8309 2102
Mob: + 86 139 6988 0123
Email: dingxiaoyan@sailing2008.org

Copyright free images for editorial use are available to download from the event website: http://www.2006qdregatta.com/


NOTES FOR EDITORS
Qingdao International Regatta

The Qingdao International Regatta is the first of two Test Events scheduled for the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition. It is the first test event held by any of the 28 summer sports on the Olympic programme.

The regatta is taking place at the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Centre, located at the former Beihai Dockyard on Fushan Bay in East New Zone of Qingdao, China.

The regatta will follow the format of the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition, with a ten race opening series (15 for the 49er), followed by a Medal Race between the top ten competitors. The Medal Race will be judged on the water and scored at double points, with letter scores counting double points based on the original fleet size.

The Qingdao International Regatta is an ISAF Grade 2 event.

2008 Olympic Sailing Competition

The Games of the XXIX Olympiad – Beijing 2008 will take place from 8-24 August 2008. The 2008 Olympic Games 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 eleven events which form the Olympic Sailing Competition will take place in Qingdao, from 9-21 August, with the 22-23 August as reserve days. Four of the final Medal Races are scheduled for 18 August, with the remaining seven on 21 August.

Sailing first joined the Olympic programme at the Paris 1900 Olympic Games. With an absence in 1904, sailing has continued on the Olympic programme for the London 1908 Olympic Games and has been a part of every Olympic Games since.