Friday, August 31, 2007

Beijing 'ready' for '08 Summer Olympics

BEIJING — It sounds like Chinese chutzpah. "This nation is ready, wearing a smile and saying hello," runs a line from We Are Ready, the theme tune invitation to the greatest coming-out party ever — the Beijing Olympic Games in August 2008.
In fact, the song reflects the justified confidence of a one-party state that can move mountains, and blow billions, to play the perfect host.

For like every piece of its Olympic hardware and software, China is not leaving that welcome smile to chance.

Once infamous for surly service, Beijing Capital International Airport is undergoing a major face lift. The high-tech, dragon-shaped Terminal 3 will wow visitors when it opens next year as the world's largest terminal building. Inside, immigration officers such as Lily Li should impress with newfound people skills. "We are told to smile more, deal more politely with people, and look at them when talking," says Li of weekly training that is part of mass campaigns to "civilize" the capital of the oldest continuous civilization on Earth. "We are the window for Beijing and China."

More people than ever are flying through that window. China is set to overtake the USA as the world's No. 3 tourist destination in 2007. The Olympic bump is expected to draw 550,000 foreign visitors next August alone to Beijing (pronounced bay-jing, as in "jingle," though some Westerners say "zhing/shing"). That's almost two-thirds more than 2006 and 2 million more for the whole year.

China's communist government, isolated for decades, has seized the Olympic limelight to showcase the country's transformation. This Olympiad "matters more to China than to previous hosts," says Qin Xiaoying of the China Foundation for International Strategic Studies. "The Games show off our economic achievements from 30 years of opening up. In sport, too, we were 'the sick man of east Asia,' and now Chinese athletes win gold, silver and bronze."

For travelers, the Games mark Beijing's arrival as an international metropolis. That stunning new Terminal 3, a $2 billion expansion, is just the first taste of a $40 billion splurge that leaves this city of 17 million more accessible than ever. And, unlike the last-minute scramble to ready Athens for the previous Summer Olympics, all Beijing's infrastructure projects will be ready well ahead of time.

Besides the soon-to-be-iconic new sports venues, visitors to the Chinese capital will enjoy multiple new road, rail and air links, dozens of new hotels, freshened-up historical sites and acres-more green space in a long, gray industrial city. But "we still face challenges on every front," says Wang Wei, a top government organizer for the Games, who lists improving air quality, manners and hotel service among pressing concerns.

Sweating outside the Forbidden City on a recent August afternoon, several American tourists agree the air is still foul. "I'd hate to be one of the athletes in this pollution and in this heat," says Will Andersen, 30, a medical salesman from New York.

Wang Wei acknowledges reducing pollution "will be very difficult." International Olympic Committee chief Jacques Rogge says endurance events such as the marathon may be delayed if smog is unbearable.

Despite the frequent haze and language barrier, Andersen remains upbeat about a city whose numerous imperial sites, including the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, can require a marathon trek. China's expanding global role motivated their self-organized tour, he says. "Knowing its culture and what's going on here is very important for Americans."

Is Beijing ready to greet the world in English?

"I don't think so," says Li Yang, a key language consultant to the Games, who inspires mass rallies of volunteers to parrot Olympic slogans. "The government loves to boast of big numbers of English speakers (more Chinese are learning English than speak the language worldwide), but the reality is that many foreigners complain 'so many people don't speak English.' "

Still, correct English is making inroads on restaurant menus as authorities crack down on "Chinglish" translations (no more "fried crap") and misspellings that make tourists smile. "We are standardizing the English menus of 10,000 restaurants in central Beijing," says Yu Debin, deputy head of the Beijing Travel Administration. "It is a huge effort that costs a lot of money, but we must correct the mistakes to make the city ready for the world."

Even one year out, you can find Olympic volunteers already on the streets. At an information and recruiting stand near Sanlitun Bar Street, a popular nightlife area, Zhang Hailing promises Beijing is ready. "It is the duty of all Chinese to look after guests from afar," says Zhang, an Amway saleswoman. "I have never been abroad, but I am so happy the world will come here next year. We are all one family."

Her enthusiasm echoes Beijing's Olympic slogan: "One World, One Dream." In some parts of Beijing, however, you could add "one homogenized, globalized nightmare."

"Going to the hotel, we see Subway, 7-Eleven, Starbucks, Sizzler, McDonald's," star U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps said on a visit in April. "It's like a big American city. They have everything we have in the States."

Beijingers soon can gawk at Hooters, too, beside the soccer venue.

Peer beyond the Westernized façade, and Beijing will reward with insights into China's past that may help explain the present.

At the fast-rising Olympic Green, 5 miles north of Tiananmen Square along the city's sacred axis, all eyes migrate to the "Bird's Nest," or National Stadium, a spectacle in twisted steel.

Beside it, the sci-fi "Water Cube," or National Aquatics Center, appears sheathed in massive bubbles because of its high-tech membrane. But by year's end, when all historic sites currently under renovation will be ready, a Ming Dynasty fertility temple will be visible in the Water Cube's shadow.

The Temple to Our Lady (Northern Summit) offers a 400-year-old hint at China's more distant past and the rich religious life of China's capital before the Communist Party took charge. "People came here to pray for sons or to recover from illness," says Ren You from the district cultural office, which has spent $1 million restoring the Taoist temple, used as a school since the 1949 revolution.

The temple will reopen next year as a museum for some of the 1,500 artifacts archaeologists unearthed from 700 ancient tombs found during construction of Olympic venues. They range from the jade belts of imperial eunuchs to snuff bottles, bronze mirrors and 2,000-year-old terracotta pots.

"Wherever you dig in Beijing, you find history," Ren says. The race to build quickly meant archaeologists could excavate less than 1% of the area surveyed, but Ren hopes "the temple will help introduce Chinese culture to the world."

American Shauna Liu also is bringing history to life. Tucked deep in the hutong (alley) that once housed court musicians, the former investment banker has converted a Ming Dynasty temple, also used as a school in recent times, into Beijing's first boutique hotel, the Côté Cour. Inspired by the riad hotels of Marrakesh (formerly ancient palaces and residences), Liu battled bureaucrats and won.

"It is so difficult to win permission to open a hotel, especially for foreigners, but I want my guests to have a chance to experience local life," Liu says. "The old magic of Beijing still survives." It's there right outside the hotel door, where old men offer bicycle and shoe repair, vegetable sellers and knife sharpeners pedal by, and neighbors gather to gossip in circles. But don't wait too long. "The hutong area will get smaller and smaller," Liu warns.

The smile on Lily Li's face breaks when the immigration officer considers the Olympic tourist deluge. "I feel lots of pressure in my work. We are here to serve the people. But next year there will be five times the normal flow of people. How do we keep them all happy?" Li asks.

The Miss Manners of the Beijing Olympics never drops her smile, despite tough battles to change and save the city's face. "We need more people to smile. I wish the whole of Beijing would smile more to welcome the world," says Zhang Huiguang, head of municipal etiquette campaigns. "We are making progress, and there's still a year to go, but we have a lot of work to do. Spitting and littering still happens."

While the government mobilizes the masses for an immaculate, completely scripted display next summer, some officials suggest China should feel confident enough to let the mask slip, at least a little.

"It's impossible for everything to be perfect in Beijing in 2008," says professor Ren Hai, director of the sports ministry's Olympic Studies Center. "I don't want the Olympics to just be a communist symbol. It should be a real introduction to China — good and bad."


Monday, August 27, 2007

The lucky few: 1/21 chance for opening ceremony tickets

Over 300,000 people across the Chinese mainland have managed to successfully reserve 1,593,345 tickets to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, including 26,000 tickets for the opening ceremony.

For ticket categories where demanded exceeded availability during the first phase of ticket sales, the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) used a lottery system.

The ticket lottery included winners from all 31 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities of the Chinese mainland, with 44% of the winners representing Beijing. The national lottery win rate was 4.7% for opening ceremony tickets and 15.1% for closing ceremony tickets.

The Beijing Olympic Ticketing Center received applications requesting 5.18 million tickets from 720,000 people across the Chinese mainland. The most popular request was for opening ceremony tickets, with only one winner for every 21 requests. For the closing ceremony, there was a one in seven chance of getting a ticket.

Book tickets for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games

More than 300,000 people across the Chinese mainland will soon be apprised that they have managed to book tickets for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) released the outcome of the first phase of its ticketing scheme on Thursday. As a result, the lottery winners of high demand tickets will be notified shortly.

The first phase of the Olympic ticket sales began on April 15, 2007 and ended at midnight, June 30, 2007. During this period, the Beijing Olympic ticketing center received more than 720,000 applications requesting 5.18 million tickets. Due to higher demand for some tickets, 72% of the 2.2 million tickets available to the public during Phase I were sold.

All 26,000 tickets for the opening ceremony available during the first phase were sold out, with only one lucky winner for every 21 applications. For the closing ceremony, 1/7 of the 172,219 applicants were lucky enough to get tickets. The top five most popular events based on ticket requests were basketball, diving, table tennis, football, and gymnastics.

To ensure the fairness of the sales procedure, for every event's ticket price category for which demand exceeded supply, a lottery system was used. Ticket lottery winners represent all 31 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities of the Chinese mainland, with 44% of ticket lottery winners from Beijing.

Beijing residents accounted for 46% of the total Phase I ticket applications. A significant number of applications also came from Guangdong province, Shanghai, Hebei province, Jiangsu province, and Zhejiang province.

Two from Dorman to represent U.S. in China's Special Olympics summit

Chris Rhodenbaugh and Rashad Richardson have a lot in common. Rashad, 16, is a sophomore at Dorman High School, while 18-year-old Chris is a 2007 graduate of the school. They both enjoy music, family and sports. And they both share a passion for the Special Olympics organization, which gives athletes with special needs a chance to compete with their peers.

The two teens now will have a unique chance to share their passion with millions around the world. They have been chosen members of the 2007 Special Olympics Global Youth Summit in Shanghai, China, from Oct. 2-11. The two young men, along with their adviser, Marsha Deal, will be the only team to represent the United States. They're also one of two teams representing North America. While in China, the trio will publish stories, blogs and Webinars to help people understand the strength of the special needs community.

"They're going to be representing the U.S. in this global group of young people that share many different things in common even though they're from different parts of the world," said Ron Vederman, director of organizational development with Special Olympics. "We hope our organization will form a bridge through acceptance, and through sport is how we show individuals what they can do."

Vederman said the Spartanburg team went through a competitive application and interview process. They were among about 15 teams to apply. In China, there will be teams from about 15 countries, and each team consists of one Special Olympics athlete and one non-disabled partner from the same school or community.

Rashad is a gymnast with Special Olympics. For the past eight years, he's honed his skills on the rings, pommel horse and bars. Chris, who began classes at the University of Notre Dame last week, began volunteering with the organization through his golf team at Dorman. The teens held a celebration at Fuddruckers last week, complete with family, friends and balloons to wish them well.

"I think I'm excited about being able to meet people from all over the world and come together with the same focus and same idea," Chris said.

Rashad said he's looking forward to meeting new people. And his mother, Laverne Pearson, said his confidence will get a boost because of this opportunity.

"I'm excited about the movement to include special needs people in everyday events in the world," said Deal, a special education teacher at Dorman with 29 years in the field. "And that's our goal: to inform the world that special needs people have hopes and dreams just like they do."

Rashad brought home several gymnastics medals from the 2003 World Games in Ireland. He will not compete in China; however, two other local athletes and a coach will. Darlene Wycuff and Jason Morrow are among four athletes from the state selected to compete. And Dorman golf coach Lewis Terry was selected to be one of eight assistant coaches for Team USA golf.

Wycuff, 55, will participate in the 100-meter walk and the softball throw. Morrow, 20, is a swimmer, skilled in the 50-meter butterfly, 25-meter butterfly and 100-meter freestyle.

"I'm looking forward to meeting new friends," said Morrow, whose mother taught him how to swim as a baby. A senior at Polk County High School in Columbus, N.C., Morrow is also excited that his family is traveling to China to cheer him on.

Wycuff has been involved with Special Olympics for years, having won ribbons in cheerleading, bowling and badminton. Her trip to China will be the first out of the country.

"I think it's great what they do for me," Wycuff said of the organization. "I think it's great I can learn to depend on myself and speak for myself in Special Olympics."

Sunday, August 19, 2007

German Oympic Committee Praises Winter Olympics Proposal

German Olympic Committee (DOSB) chief Thomas Bach has praised the concept behind Munich's proposed bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics.

"I rate this a very convincing and compact concept," Bach said. "I am happy that the winter sports federations ratified it unanimously and that the decision was reached quickly."

The German winter sports federations agreed on Friday that a Munich bid would only involve three venues. Under the proposals, the city itself would stage ice events, Garmisch-Partenkirchen would offer snow sports and bobsleigh, while skeleton sledding and luge would take place at Königssee.

Having hosted the Summer Olympics in 1972 and now bidding for the Winter Olympics, Munich is hoping to become the first city to stage both prestigious events. Garmisch-Partenkirchen organized the only Winter Olympics so far in Germany in 1936.

Unique chance
"The German winter sports federations see Munich's bid as a unique chance and support it unanimously," said Alfons Hoermann, president of the German ski federation, after the meeting.

Traditional resorts such as Ruhpolding (biathlon), Inzell (speed skating) and Oberstdorf (nordic ski) were dropped from the concept, with Bach reiterating that "only a compact proposal has a chance."

The final DOSB decision on the Munich bid is set for early December. It has already ruled out a bid for summer games in the near future despite interest from Hamburg and Berlin.

Bavaria's state capital will reportedly have to spend up to 35 million euros ($48 million) if the DOSB approves its bid.

Vancouver is set to host the 2010 winter games and Sochi was last month elected to stage the event in 2014. The 2018 host city will be elected by the International Olympic Committee in four years' time.

It's not too early to plan for Beijing Olympics

Although the 2008 Summer Olympics, being held Aug. 8-24 in Beijing, are still a full year away, making plans to attend the games has already come down to a roulette-like gamble of hurry-up-and-wait, with choices narrowing as time goes by.

The most important task is securing tickets, which can be difficult. Only a certain number of tickets are allocated to each country, and direct ticket-buying in each is only available to local residents. Unfortunately, June 30 was the cutoff date for entering the lottery to reserve the exact tickets you want. But there are other options if you're willing to compromise on price or on which events you attend.

Read more here:

And visit very nice blog about Beijing Olympics

Hello :)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Ireland's show-jumpers fail to qualify for Olympics

Ireland's show-jumping team today lost its last chance of qualifying for the 2008 Olympics when it failed to stay in the top 10 after the first round of the team championship at Mannheim, Germany.

Dropping from overnight seventh to 13th overall at the end of today's competition means that the Irish squad will not go through to the second round of the team event tomorrow - only the best
10 teams take part.

This effectively finishes Ireland's chances of qualifying a team for the Beijing Olympics, as only a top three place at Mannheim amongst the teams not already qualified would have secured the slot.

Ireland's hopes sagged after the first two riders went out this morning - Cameron Hanley and Hippica Kerman accounted for 12 faults, while Marion Hughes and Heritage Transmission lowered three poles and added a time fault to finish on 13 faults.

Irish Independent Echo Beach and Cian O'Connor, drafted in on Tuesday from Fifth Man position, dropped their only fence of the championships to end on four faults, while Jessica Kurten and Castle Forbes Libertina also finished on four faults.

Today's faults were added to penalty points from Wednesday's speed competition to arrive at the final team score.

Jessica Kurten is now in 22nd position individually and Cian O'Connor 28th. The Individual European Championships finish on Sunday.

Equestrian Federation of Ireland (EFI) Chairman Charles Powell, commenting on today's failure to gain an Olympic team qualifying place, said: "I am disappointed for the team, but I am fully supportive of Team Manager Robert Splaine and the EFI Jumping Committee, who did their very best with the horsespower available to them."

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Beijing Has Much Work to Finish Before the Olympics

Beijing Has Much Work to Finish Before the Olympics
"We've seen the future after waiting year in, year out. We are all wet with sweat..."
With these lyrics a large crowd launched into a hearty rendition of the theme "We Are Ready" in Tiananmen Square on Wednesday evening, celebrating the one-year countdown to the Beijing Olympics. The people of China can barely contain their excitement as they watch their long dream come true, a full one hundred years after the Tianjin Youth Daily declared that China should host the Olympics in an editorial in 1908.

But Beijing is not the only Chinese city excited about an upcoming affair. People in cities across the country have been hard at work preparing for a wide assortment of international events.

Shanghai, the economic capital of China, is but one example. Recently Xi Jinping, secretary of the Shanghai Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China, and Han Zheng, mayor of Shanghai, cut a ribbon at a ceremony to start the 1,000 day countdown to the 2010 World Expo, slated to open May 1 of that year in Shanghai. A public relations tour is visiting a dozen nearby cities until Sept. 9, promoting the approaching expo.

Five Chinese cities -- Shanghai, Wuhan, Hangzhou, Tianjin and Chengdu -- are busy putting the finishing touches on facilities to host the FIFA Women's World Cup soccer tournament for three weeks from Sept. 10. Other cities are preparing for more international events: Hong Kong will host the 2009 East Asian Games, Harbin the 2009 Winter Universiade, Guangzhou the 2010 Asian Games, and Shenzhen the 2011 Summer Universiade.

Guangzhou's mayor Zhang Guangning recently declared an ambitious plan to transform his city into a modern eco-friendly urban area by building 1,900 km of new roads and 250 km of new subway lines.

It's easy to understand why China is devoting so much effort to hosting international events. China apparently believes it can earn triple rewards this way -- more revenues from tourism, direct and indirect development including infrastructure construction, and heightened civic spirit. The Beijing Olympics, for example, could turn out to be the most commercially successful games ever, as the organizing committee has already earned US$1.5 billion from sponsors and licensees. That's triple the amount collected by the Athens Olympics. Some say the World Expo could be just the boost Shanghai needs to realize its dream of becoming a global financial hub.

But the real question is whether these events can turn China into a responsible member of the international community. The final analysis isn't in yet, but currently skeptics are prevailing. To cite an example, with a year left before the Olympics, China has been cracking down on the freedom of the press and restricting human rights, according to international groups such as Reporters Sans Frontieres.

When China was chosen to host the Olympics in 2001, Beijing promised to clean up its filthy city air to WHO standards. But the pollution in downtown Beijing in June reached its worst level in seven years, running counter to international trends. And despite extensive government campaigns, many Chinese people haven't been able to give up some bad habits, including public spitting, littering and aggressive driving.

Interestingly, China has reportedly been studying the 1988 Seoul Olympics for ideas, on the grounds that the Seoul games were held under a military dictatorship and the event helped trigger South Korea's economic growth. But what China should pay more attention to is the fact that the 1988 Olympics served as the momentum for South Korea's move towards true democracy and acceptance of international norms of civilization. In that sense, China still has a long way to go before it can successfully host the Beijing Olympics and assorted other international events.

Government urged to fast-track immigration process of chefs in bid to avoid Olympics skills shortage

by Greg Pitcher

Foreign chefs must be given the same immigration fast-track as Premiership footballers to stop the 2012 Olympic Games being blighted by a kitchen skills crisis, Gordon Brown has been told.

Sector skills council People 1st and trade body the British Hospitality Association (BHA) have sent a joint letter to the prime minister urging him to act immediately on the issue.

London mayor Ken Livingstone has already warned that increasing the standard of hospitality the capital offers visitors is crucial to their perception of the 2012 Olympics.

Four in 10 UK chefs do not possess a Level Two qualification – deemed to be the minimum needed to prepare food from scratch.

Brian Wisdom, chief executive of People 1st, said: “The government has known for some time that employers here are struggling to find highly skilled chefs.

“There is a certain irony in the fact that a sushi chef with 12 years’ training – who we really need in this country – gets denied entry, yet footballers from the same part of the world with less years’ training behind them take priority.”

BHA chief executive Bob Cotton added that high-quality Asian restaurants were struggling to find enough chefs locally and needed to look abroad.

“With our food tastes evolving, there is an urgent need for great chefs, and this will become even more of an issue with the influx of millions of tourists heading to London in advance of the Olympic Games,” he said.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

London shares down midmorning, off lows, July inflation falls below 2 pct

Leading shares remained weak midmorning but off lows as investors drew some comfort from July inflation news which showed the headline number fall back below the BoE target of 2 pct.

By 10.15 am, the FTSE 100 index was 14.7 points lower 6,204.3, with the FTSE 250 index was also recovering some of its earlier losses to trade 58.4 points lighter at 11,110.7.

Volume was fair, with 484 mln shares changing hands in 138,922 deals.

In economic news, inflation in the UK fell by the biggest amount in over five years during July, pushed down by falls in food prices and furniture, as well as utility and petrol costs and taking the key CPI rate below the Bank of England's target rate, official figures showed.

The Office for National Statistics said the annual CPI inflation rate slumped to 1.9 pct in July from 2.4 pct in June, well below analysts' forecasts for a decline to 2.2 pct and the steepest drop since May 2002.

This is the lowest CPI rate since March 2006 and is also the first time since that date that inflation has been below the 2.0 pct level that the Bank of England is charged with targeting.

The news is likely to diminish expectations for a further interest rate rise in the autumn, particularly in the light of the recent turmoil on financial markets.

Back among the blue chips, financials were weighing as ongoing credit concerns hit the banking and asset management sectors.

Inter-dealer broker Icap slipped 15 to 476, while Man Group slid 8 to 504.

Elsewhere, banks were lower after Credit Suisse advised its clients to stay away from the sector and backed up its concerns with a downgrade to Bradford & Bingley, off 12 pence at 417, and HBOS which eased 5 to 900.

Morrison also took a tumble, down 6 at 259, after issuing a warning of an e-coli outbreak in the Paisley area.

The outbreak was linked to sliced cold meat products at the delicatessen counters of its Lonend and Falside Road stores in Paisley, Scotland as the public health protection unit at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde started an investigating.

The move was precipitated after a 66-year-old woman died as a result of contracting the infection, while her husband remains seriously ill in hospital.

Sainsbury slipped 3 pence to 544-1/2, after it emerged the Qatari investment fund Delta Two which is targeting the UK supermarket group could reduce the debt proportion in its proposed 10.6 bln stg bid, according to a report in the Financial Times.

This move, said the newspaper, is an attempt to satisfy concerns that the supermarket group could withstand potential pressure on earnings from difficult trading conditions.

Philip Hampton, chairman of the UK's third-biggest supermarket chain, is expected to repeat demands for Qatari investment group Delta Two to restructure its offer proposal to include an additional 1 bln stg of equity when the two parties meet for a fifth time Wednesday, Thomson Financial News reported yesterday, citing city sources.

Sticking with M&A news, Royal Bank of Scotland bucked this morning's negative trend after a report in the Financial Times that the consortium led by the UK bank looking to buy ABN Amro has increased its stake in the Dutch bank to 3.25 pct. The move signals the group's determination to continue with its 71.1 bln eur bid for ABN.

There had been speculation that the consortium's takeover attempt could be undermined by tighter conditions in the credit markets, with concern centring on Fortis' debt-dependent contribution to the financing of the bid.

Lenders are currently demanding higher returns from all borrowers amid worries over a wave of defaults in the US sub-prime mortgage sector.

In broker driven news, BT Group rallied 3-1/4 to 311 after being upgraded to 'neutral' from 'underperform' at Credit Suisse, citing its cost cutting efforts and a slow take-up of full local loop unbundling in the UK.

Vodafone ticked up 1.3 to 159.6 as Germany's Federal Cartel Office said it had no objections to Vodafone, Telefonica's O2 and Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile plans to set up a mobile television joint venture.

The companies plan to base the venture on the DVB-H standard mobile TV technology.

Elsewhere, Anglo American benefited after HSBC upped its rating to 'overweight' from 'neutral' and raised its price target to 3,350 pence, from 3,200 in the wake of the company's H1 results. The shares rose 31 to 2847.

In earnings news, InterContinental Hotels Group reversed opening falls after unveiling H1 earnings broadly in line with the markets' estimates and which highlighted that signings continue to run at record levels.

The company also raised its interim dividend by 12 pct to 5.7 pence from 5.1 pence. IHG's shares added 10 to 1,111.

Miners also reversed early losses as investors focused on firmer metal prices overnight and as early profit taking following yesterday's sharp gains petered out.

Antofagasta added 6 to 691, Vedanta took on 15 to 1,682 and Rio ticked up 8 to 3,228.

Turning to the second line, National Express Group gained 16 pence at 1,163, after winning the race for the UK's prestigious East Coast inter-city rail franchise, with a pledge to pay the government 1.4 bln stg over the life of the seven year deal.

National Express finance director Adam Walker said differences between the new contract and the previous deal, including a new timetable from 2010, 20 pct more capacity and potential boosts to demand such as the London 2012 Olympics, should help it avoid the problems that led to GNER's demise.


School 'Olympics' face growth spurt

An increase from five to eight sports and a possible visit from Gordon Brown will further raise the bar of the second United Kingdom School Games when the four-day event opens in Coventry on Aug 23.

The Prime Minister, one of the event's most powerful supporters, first announced the Games in his 2006 Budget speech - he referred to it then as the 'Schools Olympics'. He is believed to be committed to pushing on with school sport development and grassroots sport investment for the next decade.

The sports programme for Coventry, in the wake of the inaugural event in Glasgow last September which was heralded as a great success, has seen an increase in sports. Badminton, volleyball and judo are added this year to swimming, athletics, table tennis, gymnastics and fencing. Table tennis joins athletics and swimming on the disability sport programme in Coventry.

Next year the UK School Games could branch out even further and add sports that do not feature in the Olympic, Commonwealth and Paralympic Games. There are many supporters of 'lifestyle' sports which are popular with youngsters. Arguments that skateboarding and BMX bike riding are not mainstream enough are facile: BMX has been included for the 2008 Games in Beijing and skateboarding is also being talked up as a possibility, too, for London in 2012.

Critics once said the same of snowboarding, but on vert ramps these days we are watching the scintillating skills of athletes in baggy clothes. Skateboarding is now one of the most visually spectacular events, both for television viewers and live spectators, at the Winter Olympic Games.

Street sports are already being organised in schools. Action Sports In Schools (ASIS), a non-profit sports coaching programme, has already been growing in schools over the past year. Just as dance and aerobics has become a popular activity for many teenage girls, so 'street sports' should also be included under the school sports umbrella.

The Youth Sport Trust, who run the Games on government funding, have established core themes underpinning the aims of the event and potential career pathways for teenagers in sport. They include developing the integration of Olympic and Paralympic themes, both with athletes and organisers; the experience of opening and closing ceremonies and life in an athlete village (this year at the Warwick University campus); volunteer training towards 2012 and beyond, and a change in the content, structure and presentation of competitive sporting opportunities.

All athletes will be accommodated on the campus, where they will experience the atmosphere of an Olympic village. The British Olympic Foundation are partners in the delivery of the Games, and are to provide first-hand experience of the Olympics to re-create a 'hub' which will become the 'melting pot' for 1,500 schoolchildren. Athletes will mix and learn about other sports. This year, 11 'athlete ambassadors', former and current Olympians, will live alongside the athletes.

Steve Grainger, the chief executive of the Youth Sport Trust, said: "Within England the UK School Games forms the apex of a pyramid of competitive sporting opportunities being promoted through school sport. The government announcement of July 13 committed additional funds to complete the roll-out of competition managers across all school sport partnerships from 2008.

"These competition managers will be key to implementing this enhanced competitive offer for young people. They will work closely with national governing bodies and local school sports federations to create pathways from high-quality intra-school competition." £2.3 million in National Lottery funding has been awarded to the Youth Sport Trust through the Big Lottery Fund to develop the UK School Games until 2011 and for the 2007 Games in Coventry.

• Visa is the presenting sponsor of the 2007 Games, which are also being supported by Coventry City Council.

• Tickets are available by phone on 0871 230 1080 or at


Monday, August 13, 2007

Cuffy’s focused on London Olympics

The moment a Cayman cricket coach set eyes on six–year–old Tyrell Cuffy at the Owen Roberts International Airport, he said: “That boy is destined to be a sprinter.”

And sure enough, 12 years later, he’s been proved right. Cuffy is one of the Caribbean’s fastest teenagers, on the verge of being world class at 18 with Olympic ambitions firmly in his sights. The cricket coach was Andy Myles, there to welcome Tyrell’s dad Theo to Grand Cayman from Trinidad to take up the position of cricket’s technical director. Cuffy is still in the post and Myles his assistant. Little Tyrell, however, has grown into a strapping six–footer, improving virtually every time he runs the 200 metres. “I could tell Tyrell was a sprinter even then because he walked on his toes, not the balls of his feet,” says Myles. “He had a very smooth, easy step, sort of glided.”

“Even at George Town Primary School his teacher, Mrs. Ebanks, spotted his sprinting talent,” says Theo. “He played cricket, captained the Under–15s and went on to play for the U–19s but then athletics took over.”

And how. Cuffy has just completed his first senior season, always a difficult one for aspiring champions used to being top dog as juniors. He fared well too, running fast enough at the Pan Am Junior Games in Sao Paulo to take silver in the 200m that qualified him for the senior tournament in Rio de Janeiro a few days after where he got to the semis. “Going to Rio was a great experience where I met professional athletes who gave me good advice,” Cuffy says. “I learned to always stay focused and they told me to do my school work and stay disciplined.”

Cuffy roomed with his Caymanian team mates high jumper Omar Wright and multi–disciplined thrower Michael Letterlough. “That was fun too. Omar is more a wise guy, who advised me to leave the girls alone for now and train hard. Michael has more of a business brain and talked about how to make the money.”

All three are the products of an intensive Cayman athletics programme headed by coach Kenrick Williams, who is churning out high quality competitors with production–line precision. “Kenrick is the best,” says Cuffy. “I’ve been with him since I was eight and still keep in touch with him now I’m at college. He believes that if he can get you to the level of the Cafita Games then you are destined to make it.”

Cuffy’s closest sprinting pal is Kemar Hyman, a 17–year–old Caymanian who is also emerging as one to watch. “I also like training with Stephon Johnson. He’s the perfect role model. He sits you down and gives good advice. The twins Carl and Carlos Morgan (Caymanian athletes studying in American colleges) have just emailed me to say they’re training hard and coming after me in the 200m next year, so watch out. I’m looking forward to it. I love the competition.”

Established Caymanian athletes Kareem Streete–Thompson and Cydonie Mothersill are also great sources of inspiration for Cuffy.

A business administration student at King College in Bristol, Tennessee, Cuffy enjoys the small campus atmosphere and competing in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics league. Offers have come to move to larger colleges where he can run in more competitive Division One meets. But he’s happy with the parochial life there for now.

“I’m settled there with my coaches Johnny Bomar and Tom Murrell who are trying to improve my endurance by running occasional 400m relay. Studying always takes precedence though. Classes in the morning, I train at 3pm then back to my books in the evening.”

He adds with a big smile: “I’m not much of a party guy,” but does admit to having “a couple of girlfriends”.

With a degree firmly on his resume in three years’ time, Cuffy is coming back to Cayman with the intention of being a full–time sprinter. “My ultimate dream is the Olympics. I came this close to qualify for Beijing next year in the 200m with a time of 20.83 seconds when the qualifier is 20.75 so I hope to get that time next year.”

By then he’ll be bigger, stronger and better equipped for the rigours of the event. His size and shape lends itself more to the longer sprint than the 100m. “The way I run, the strides, I’m told I don’t have the ‘quick twitch’ action you need to be really good at 100m, but I am improving.” He’s still run a respectable 10.39secs.

Cuffy wants to emulate Jamaica’s world–record holder Asafa Powell. “That guy is unbelievable. He’s my idol. I’ll be rooting for him at the World Championships in two weeks’ time. I’ve met him in Jamaica and shook his hands. Nice guy.”

Cuffy hopes to compete in Beijing for the experience with a goal of reigning supreme at the London Olympics in 2012. “I’ve only passed through London as a sprinter but I’d love to visit there. Dad talks about it all the time.”

Tyrell believes he can reach Olympic medal status without illegal drugs. “I haven’t been offered any drugs and definitely wouldn’t take them anyway to be the best. I’d say about 80 per cent of athletes are clean. I run for the love of it, the money’s just a bonus. I could never take them because if you get caught you get a bad name and a bad rep. When Justin Gatlin got caught I threw all his images away. At least I know Asafa is clean.”

A wholesome family lifestyle is something he enjoys with his dad, mum, Sandra and sister Trisha, 20. They live in Newlands and still take family breaks together. “I was in Cayman Brac with my family last week and had so much conch. Mum wants me to take some back to college and freeze it. There’s no need to go that far!

“We’re very close. I talk to dad every day from college and mum is always encouraging me and keeping me motivated.

“My first month at college was tough. I was very homesick so when I came home for a week’s spring break it was great to go out with Trisha. We had a blast.”

As Theo was an outstanding cricketer, Tyrell obviously inherited his sporting genes. “Dad told me he used to run when he was younger, I can’t believe that.”

Bristling with pride, Theo says: “Tyrell knows how I feel about smoking and drugs and thankfully he doesn’t indulge. He gets a high from music. He doesn’t really love fast food, more his mother’s cooking.

“He’s recording excellent times for an 18–year–old and will be maturing in the next few years. I have high hopes for him. He’s set his goals, let’s see how he works towards it. Only the almighty determines that. He has a good coach in Tom Murrell who is like a father figure. Tyrell is a good product of Cayman and I hope he can be a lesson for all youngsters to show what can happen if you work hard. I want him to shoot for the stars but keep his feet firmly on the ground.”

Friday, August 10, 2007

Wildlife finds new homes away from Olympic Park as construction accelerates on site

LONDON: Newts, toads, fish and other wildlife are being relocated from a run-down site in east London to make way for the main complex for the 2012 Olympics.

Although much of the 2.5-square-kilometer (1-square-mile) site has previously been used for industrial purposes, its wetlands and waterways are the natural habitats of several different species that organizers want to protect as construction accelerates on the Olympic Park.

"A great deal of work is being done to ensure that we minimize any disruption to existing habitats and protect the wildlife on the site," Olympic Delivery Authority chief executive David Higgins said Thursday.

Almost 2,000 newts and hundreds of toads have already been relocated into specially constructed ponds.

Aquatic experts have used "electrofishing" — a process that temporarily stuns fish and makes them float to the surface — in the Pudding Mill River that runs through the site. They moved their catch of eels and pike into the cleaner water of the River Lea, a few hundred meters (yards) away.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Olympics all work and no pay for migrant workers

The cheap toil of 30,000 construction labourers is being used to build dozens of stadiums and other venues on time

BEIJING — As he hauls heavy bags of sand to the perfectly groomed grounds of Beijing's new beach-volleyball stadium, Wang Hongjian knows he will never have a chance to see the bikini-clad athletes who will play here during the Olympics next summer.

Beads of sweat are dripping from his forehead as he toils under the blazing sun of the Beijing summer. He works for 10 hours a day, seven days a week, earning a meagre salary of $120 a month.

The 53-year-old migrant worker from Henan province is housed in a crowded dormitory, 15 workers in each room, without air conditioning or even a fan.

By mid-day, the suffocating heat can climb to 40 degrees. If he gets thirsty while he works, he has to pay for his own bottles of water.

Asked whether he might be able to afford a ticket for any of the Olympic events, he shakes his head sadly. Tickets for some events will be as cheap as $10 or $15. But for the thousands of construction workers whose sweat and muscle are building the Beijing Olympics, a ticket to the Olympics is a dream beyond reach.

"We can't afford it," Mr. Wang says. "Just to travel from our hometown to Beijing would cost more than 100 yuan ($14 Canadian). It's too expensive for us."

About 30,000 construction workers, mostly migrants from villages and rural regions, are building the dozens of stadiums and other venues for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Their cheap labour is one of the main reasons for China's rapid readiness for the Olympics. Almost all of the venues will be built and tested by the end of this year, more than seven months ahead of the opening ceremonies.

For most of the construction workers, the Olympic projects are just another job. Most of them earn only $4 a day. They often work from 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., then from 1:30 p.m. to 6:30 or 7 p.m. Most are required to pay for their own meals, which consume as much as a third of their income. Almost all of them lack any health insurance or insurance against injuries or death, even though China has the highest rate of fatal occupational accidents in the world.

In one of the few concessions to the stifling summer heat, some Olympic workers are given daily rations of green-bean soup, which is traditionally believed in Chinese herbal medicine to have cooling properties.

Some workers are paid monthly, but many will have to wait until the end of the year. In a few cases, local subcontractors have failed to pay anything at all, skipping out on their obligations with the knowledge the workers are powerless to do anything about it.

Wang Yuelou, a 40-year-old migrant worker from Hebei province, has been working as an electrician at the new Olympic badminton gym. His employer has promised to pay him at the end of the year. In the meantime, he can apply for 200 yuan (about $24) in "pocket money" from his employer every month, but he says it is not enough for his daily expenses.

Even his year-end-salary payment is not guaranteed. He's had some employers in the past who cheated him, refusing to pay his full wages on the pretext that the construction project was not as profitable as expected.

"We do have a contract with our boss, but it's just for him to show the labour inspectors," Mr. Wang said. "We don't even see the contract. It's in the hands of our boss."

Migrant workers are routinely exploited by employers who delay their wages or refuse to pay them. As of last year, Chinese migrants were owed more than $14-billion in unpaid wages by their employers, according to official numbers. Surveys have suggested about a quarter of the 200 million migrant workers in China are owed back wages, including about 800,000 migrants in Beijing.

Mr. Wang said he would love to see the Olympics, but he knows it isn't likely. He hopes, instead, for a piece of paper from the government to document his role in constructing an Olympic site. "Being a migrant worker is a very tough job," he says.

A propaganda banner at the construction site makes his obligations clear. "Abide by the regulations and construct a harmonious society," the banner tells the migrant workers. "Establish a masterpiece and dedicate yourself to the Olympics."

At the new Olympic velodrome in Beijing, two migrants named Hou and Wang are building the cement stairs for the parking lot. They are under the impression migrants will be prevented from entering Beijing during the Olympics next year, something Beijing has denied.

Told they are legally allowed to buy tickets for the Olympics, they just laugh and shake their heads at the cost of it.


Beijing Olympics: Pirated goods on sale

Almost one year ahead of the Beijing Olympic Games, Chinese authorities have vowed to do their utmost to crackdown on counterfeit Olympics merchandise.

The famous silk street market in Beijing is already selling official Olympics merchandise including clothing, shoes, handicrafts and dolls for a fraction of what they would cost in most other countries.

However, fake Olympic goods are also already being sold at underground stations and other popular sites in Beijing.

Olympic officials and local authorities are promising a strong crackdown.

"The Olympics souvenirs can only be sold in authorised stores. We will crackdown on fake products, no matter if they are sold in stands, streets or department stores," said Jiang Guohong, Department Chief of the Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce, on June 12.

Deputy Director of the Publicity Bureau for Beijing's Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (BOCOG), Wang Hui, said the committee's position on piracy was clear.

"BOCOG's position on IPR (intellectual property rights) is consistent and clear. We are strongly determined to protect the property rights of the Beijing Olympics. We strongly support actions to crackdown on piracy," he said.

The Beijing security bureau keeps a collection of counterfeit items from their seizures, with products ranging from whiskey and tobacco to name brand clothing and watches.

Officials say that more and more of their seizures now include fake Olympic goods. Caps and t-shirts are easy to copy, but the mascot dolls have been on top of the list of seizures in recent months.

The Beijing Olympic Committee plans to set up more officially-licensed stores, thinking that if official items are more readily available then people will be less likely to buy pirated goods.

The merchandise at official stores is two to three times more expensive than the fakes, so some consumers may still tempted to buy non-official items.

People appeared to have mixed views in Beijing on whether counterfeit merchandise should be available to buyers.

Some Chinese residents are angry with those involved in pirating goods, worrying that they may damage China's image.

"The Olympics are a grand event involving a lot of countries in the world. Fake products are not good for the image of Beijing during the Olympics," said Ms. Wang, a Beijing resident, on Friday.

However, one British tourist said he was not concerned about the prevalence of pirated goods.

"You've got a building full of fake products here, so what are you going to do? Put a lot of people out of business I suppose," said Jeff Downs, a British tourist.

About 550-thousand foreigners are expected to travel to China to watch the Olympics, starting on 8 August 2008, as well as an estimated 22-thousand journalists.

Friday, August 3, 2007

London 2012 roadshow

CHESTER is to get its first taste of the Olympics this week when the London 2012 roadshow comes to town.

Sporting celebrities including Beth Tweddle will be appearing alongside aspiring Olympians from all over Cheshire this Sunday (5th August) as part of a campaign by organisers of the London 2012 games to get more local people involved in sport.
The roadshow was due to be staged at the Roodee as part of Chester Races Family Fun Day but has been relocated due to wet ground conditions. The racing fixture remains unaffected.
There will be opportunities for visitors to try a wide range of sports during a five-hour spectacular outside Chester Town Hall.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Beijing Olympics 2008: India refuses permission to Tibetans protesting Beijing Olympics

Tibetan exiles on Thursday accused the Indian government of caving in to pressure from China by refusing to allow them to use an official stadium to stage a symbolic protest against the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

The activists have planned a series of protests against Chinese rule in Tibet and launched a campaign to have Tibetan representation at the Beijing Olympics despite China's insistence that Tibet is an integral part of China.

The Tibetans had planned a soccer match at New Delhi's biggest stadium that they said would have attracted thousands of refugees and protesters.

Indian officials refused them permission to play at the government-run Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium "directly or indirectly due to pressure from the Chinese government," said B. Tsering, president of the Tibetan Women's Association.

"If China can force India, the biggest democratic nation, to compromise on its democratic values, then China's misuse of power is a real cause of concern for the global community," said Tsering.

A spokesman for India's foreign ministry declined to comment.

Tsering said that the organizers had found an alternative venue in New Delhi but she was unsure whether the Indian team would be allowed to participate.

"Everything is uncertain now," she said, although activists were "determined to hold this match."

China says it has ruled Tibet for centuries, although many Tibetans say their homeland was essentially an independent state for most of that time. Chinese communist troops occupied Tibet in 1951 and Beijing continues to rule the region with a heavy hand.

India has been generally supportive of the Tibetan exiles after their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, fled there in 1959 after a failed uprising, settling in the northern town of Dharmsala.

However, India and China have attempted to strengthen their once-shaky ties in recent years as both Asian giants emerge as significant global powers.

Last year India banned several Tibetan protests during the visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao, saying they did not want to embarrass their guest.

Most Tibetans say China has attempted to destroy Tibetan Buddhist culture by flooding Tibet with China's ethnic Han majority.

Beijing 2008 Olympics IT testing underway

Tests on the IT infrastructure behind the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games begins this month, a full year before the event opens on 8 August 2008.

The systems architecture for Beijing 2008 was finalised last month by the main IT supplier for the Games, Atos Origin, and all the facilities - a PC factory, data centre, integration lab and technology operation centre - are now operational.

An IT team of around 3,500 people, which includes 2,500 volunteers, will be responsible for 10,000 PCs, 1,000 servers, a Games information system and an information diffusion system across seven cities.

Guillaume Huard, sales and marketing director for Olympics and major events at Atos Origin, said: "You have one chance to get it right. There is no second chance. Testing is a big component. You don't want to affect the competition in any way. The testing is intense and takes more than a year."

The testing will include a run-through of 500 possible worst-case scenarios rehearsing every situation that could go wrong, including virus infections and cables being cut but Huard said the biggest threat is still an internal one.

He said: "We have had people trying to print their own accreditation badges, or trying to find their way around the network when they shouldn't."

To minimise this risk all the Olympic volunteers - IT and non-IT - go through rigorous police background checks. In Beijing there will be a total of 70,000 volunteers, filtered down from around five million applications.

But such is the reliability required for the Olympic Games there is little new or cutting-edge technology used.

Huard said: "You have to freeze your solution quite a long time before the event. We are not going for cutting-edge and bleeding-edge technology. It has to be mature, proven, tested technology. You can't take that risk at the Olympics."

There are currently 100 IT staff in Beijing, three-quarters of who are Chinese, and testing begins this month for the IT supporting 12 Olympics events in 11 different venues. Work on the IT infrastructure for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics is already underway and work on the London 2012 IT systems will begin after Beijing, in November 2008.

Despite the IT skills shortage in the UK, Huard said there will be no shortage of people for the thousands of volunteers needed in London.

He said: "The Olympics only happens through the help of volunteers. I don't think we will have a problem finding people for London. The attraction of the Olympics is such that people take leave from their jobs. It's a great thing on a CV."

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

China downplays medal chances in the 2008 Olympics

BEIJING: China is downplaying its chance of overtaking the United States as the top gold-medal winning team in the 2008 Olympics.

Cui Dalin, the deputy minister of Sport, told a news conference Wednesday that China still trailed the United States and Russia as an Olympic power.

Dalin, who is also vice chairman of the Chinese Olympic Committee, said China faced challenges in sports in which it has usually done well, and could suffer from the pressure of competing at home.

Evidence from recent Olympics shows that the host nation has an advantage — not a disadvantage.

He further downplayed China's chances, saying it was more likely to be competing with countries like Japan, Germany, Australia and France in the second tier of Olympic powers.

Kenya-based Cleveland Forde eyes Beijing Olympics, London Games

National men's 5000-metre record holder Cleveland Forde has his eyes set on representing Guyana at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and setting a standard for the 2012 London Games.

"I'm just looking at making the qualifying time for the Beijing Olympics next year and setting a standard that even if I don't win a medal there (Beijing), I hope to just make the standard for the 2012 Olympics in England," the 22-year-old told Stabroek Sport in an exclusive interview.

The Kenya-based athlete, who is currently benefiting from an Olympic Solidarity-funded scholarship leading up to the 2008 Olympics, said when the current scholarship was up, he hoped the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) would see it fit to secure another scholarship for him that would lead up to the 2012 London Games.

"After Beijing, I hope the GOA might see it fit to get me another scholarship. What they (GOA) have done for me so far has really helped me. I wanted to get to world standard and I'm going to try and make the Beijing qualifying time so that I can represent Guyana to get the recognition it deserves," Forde stressed.

The Mabaruma (Region One) born son of the soil who has been at the Kip Keino High Altitude Training Centre in Kenya for over two years, said training at the world famous facility had boosted his career despite his poor showing at the just-concluded 15th Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

"I was not too well in Rio and I hope the GOA understands what went on. There were GOA executives there and they knew that I was not well, so I hope they understand.

"My performance at the Pan Am was not so good at all and not as close to what I'm capable of, but that's how it is sometimes.

"Yes I'm disappointed, but I have to find a way to move forward," he added.

Forde placed 11th of 13 runners in the men's 5000-metre event and 10th of 11 competitors in the men's 10,000-metre race.

Asked what he would do if the GOA were unsuccessful in securing a further four-year scholarship for him, Forde replied: "My plans after 2008, if I don't get another scholarship through the GOA, I will have to adapt to the situation and hope to be flexible, probably work in Guyana."

Asked what his training programme had been like since arriving in Kenya more than two years ago, Forde said he trains once per day (three hours) six days per week and does fortlex (run probably two minutes rest one minute continuously). He explained that his coach would usually give him a programme for the week to work with which inspires him to look forward to the next day's schedule.

"Coach Simba (Kenyan) has been great and though he never represented Kenya he has turned out world class athletes.

"I think his coaching is great, his philosophy and his approach to the job are excellent. He keeps stressing that discipline and patience are the keys to success. He tells you don't try to push things to happen, let it flow. If you try to push, you come down as fast or even faster than you got there and I have learnt that discipline is a way of life. If he says rest and you want to party you will go nowhere. Rest is a part of the training."

Asked how he has adapted to the food in Kenya, the national men's 1500-metre and South American 5000-metre medalist said getting accustomed to the food at first was a bit difficult and he resorted to eating bread alone, but in the long run he had to get used to eating what was served.

"I made up my mind and got used to it, and now I can handle the food. Sometimes sour milk which they call Maziwa Laha or sleeping milk. They say it gives the stomach work to clean you out."

He said since he had been there, he had not only been working on his athletic career, but his academic career as well.

"My first year there was just like grooving into the way of life in Kenya and their methods of training and competition and during the second year I got used to their culture and started to speak the language while training."

In 2005 Forde began an academic programme in management of information systems which he explained had to do with computer information (computer science).

"I started this course in July 2005 and did my first exams in June 2006. I got passes in all the subject areas but in December last year I failed two tests and did them over this year and am hoping for passes when the results come out next month.

"When I failed, I had underestimated the exams, I took them for granted and paid the price, but now I'm more serious."

Forde expressed his gratitude to coach Simba, who he said had been great to him. "He explained certain things in life and I listened to him attentively and am still learning. I would also like to thank coach Joseph N'June for his patience and understanding and most importantly the GOA and all other locals who have contributed in some way or the other to the little success that I have achieved to date."

Popular Posts

2012 London Olympic Games Labels

London 2012 (25) 2012 Olympic Games (16) 2012 London (14) Beijing Olympics (14) 2008 Beijing Olympics (12) 2012 Olympics (11) Beijing 2008 (11) 2008 Olympics (9) China (9) Olympic Games (9) London (8) Olympics (8) Beijing 2008 Olympic Games (6) Olympic Park (6) 2008 china (5) 2012 (5) Beijing Airport (5) Olympic (5) 2008 Olympic (4) Beijing (4) London Olympics (4) London 2012 logo (4) 2010 Vancouver (3) 2012 Games (3) ODA (3) Olympic Committee's (3) VeloPark (3) 2008 Summer Olympics (2) 2010 Winter Olympics (2) Beijing Summer Olympics (2) London 2012 Olympics (2) London stadium (2) all olimpic logos (2) ioc (2) logo (2) olympic Village (2) song (2) 1908 Olympics (1) 20016 (1) 2010 Vancouver talisman (1) 2012 Olympic Stadium (1) 2012 drug cheats (1) 2014 Winter Olympics (1) 2016 Summer Olympics (1) 2018 Winter Olympics (1) ATHENS (1) Alpha Sigma Alpha (1) American cyclists (1) Aquatic Centre (1) Athletics Australia (1) Beijing Map (1) Beijing Subway Map (1) Bijak (1) China Citys (1) David Higgins (1) Interpol (1) Jonathan Stephens (1) Lin Miaoke (1) Locog (1) London 2012 budget plans (1) London Games (1) Louis Smith (1) Michael Phelps (1) Olympic flame (1) Olympic guide (1) Olympic travel (1) Olympics Promo (1) Organising Committee (1) Paralympic Games (1) Paralympic Games 2012 (1) Summit (1) Tessa Jowell (1) UK (1) UK School Games (1) Vodafone (1) Womens Gymnastics (1) adidas (1) k2 (1) korea (1) london velo (1) olimpic flag (1) olympic Football (1) roadshow (1) sport (1) volleyball (1)