GUANGZHOU - Preparations for the Guangzhou 2010 Asian Games and Asian Para Games have shifted to top gear with just over a month left for the Asian Games to open on Nov 12.
"After six years of hard work, we're ready for the games," Wan Qingliang, mayor of Guangzhou, said at a press conference organized by the State Council Information Office on Wednesday.
"Strong and wide support from local people will help guarantee the smooth operation of both the events. In return, residents will benefit a lot," Wan said.
As of Oct 1, more than 1.5 million people, of which up to 90 percent are local residents, have applied to become volunteers for the games, sources with the games organizing committee said.
Wan said preparations for news and broadcasting services are also complete, with 5,283 applicants already registered as licensed broadcasters.
Some 8,623 domestic and overseas reporters have submitted their applications to cover the events, according to the organizing committee.
The Main Press Center (MPC), located in the Asian Games Town in Panyu district, will be officially opened to reporters on Nov 1, the organizing committee said.
"I'm truly impressed with the advanced facilities in the MPC. Local authorities have done a very good job in providing news service for foreign reporters," said Ernst Herb, a reporter from Finanz und Wirtschaft, a Switzerland-based business newspaper.
After a visit to the Asian Games Town, Herb said his stories will focus on businesses generated from the games.
In response, Wan said preparations for the games have helped generate lots of business and job opportunities in Guangzhou.
For example, Guangzhou's investment, consumption and export in the first half of this year increased sharply by 43.5 percent, 20.6 percent and 37.3 percent respectively year-on-year, Wan said.
Moreover, Guangzhou has made great efforts to improve the city's air and water quality in recent years, Wan said.
"Athletes and visitors will step into a new Guangzhou, blessed with cleaner water and air," he said.
The Guangzhou 2010 Asian Games will feature 42 sports, including 28 Olympic sports and 14 non-Olympic sports. Some traditional Asian sports, such as cricket, dance sport, dragon boat racing, roller-skating, Chinese chess and the game of go, have been included in the games for the first time ever.
As of Sept 30, some 10,156 athletes, 4,202 team officials and 2,370 technical officials from 45 Asian countries and regions had confirmed their participation in the upcoming games, according to Yang Shu'an, vice-chairman of Chinese Olympic Committee.
Yang said all venues for the games will officially open to the teams for training on Nov 5.