'Pollution could delay some events in Beijing'

Air pollution could force the delay or postponement of some outdoor endurance events during next year's Olympic Games in Beijing, International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said on Wednesday.

'Pollution could delay some events in Beijing'
Air pollution could force the delay or postponement of some outdoor endurance events during next year's Olympic Games in Beijing, International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said on Wednesday.

"Yes, this is an option," Rogge told US broadcaster CNN when asked about the possibility of delays.

"It would not be necessary for all sports, sports with short durations would not be a problem," Rogge said in brief interview with CNN.

"But definitely the endurance sports like the cycling [road] race, where you have to compete for six hours, these are examples of competitions that might be postponed or delayed to another day," he said.

Rogge was in Beijing to attend celebrations marking the one-year countdown to the 2008 games.

The highlight was a planned evening ceremony in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, with Chinese President Hu Jintao and about 10,000 other guests invited.

IOC officials have long cited air polluted and traffic congestion as their main concerns in Beijing's preparations for the games.

The Beijing organizing committee (BOCOG) said it had "outlined a number of contingency plans" for improving air quality during meetings with Rogge in Beijing this week.

BOCOG quoted Rogge as saying he was "very hopeful the matter will be tackled effectively."

The city government had announced that it planned to remove temporarily about one-third of the estimated 3 million vehicles registered in Beijing this month as a trial run for the Olympics.

But the trial run was apparently abandoned, after BOCOG officials said on Monday that they were "still studying such a plan."

A recent Harvard University study conducted by US and Chinese scientists supported his view that Beijing's efforts would work, estimating that traffic-reduction measures used during a China-Africa forum in Beijing last November had produced to a 40-per-cent decrease in the nitrogen oxides created by internal-combustion engines.

DPA
Last Mod: 08 Ağustos 2007, 16:20
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