Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), acknowledged yesterday that Beijing's air pollution could force the postponement of outdoor events during next year's Olympics.
"Yes, this is an option," Rogge told CNN in a brief interview. "It would not be necessary for all sports, sports with short durations would not be a problem. But definitely the endurance sports like the cycling race where you have to compete for six hours, these are examples of competitions that might be postponed or delayed to another day."
The statement from Rogge came just hours before Beijing was to celebrate the one-year mark in the countdown for next year's opening ceremony. A party in Tiananmen Square to celebrate the moment was to be attended by 10,000 people, including Chinese President Hu Jintao (
Wang Junyan, director of the cycling events at the Beijing Olympics, said race schedules had already been decided and that it would be difficult to make any changes.
"Rogge's comment reminds us that we have to work harder to fix environmental problems," she said.
Beijing's filthy air and clogged traffic have worried Beijing organizers and the IOC, but this was Rogge's strongest statement on the subject and was sure to embarrass local organizers.
Beijing officials have spent billions of dollars closing factories and moving others out of town, but nonstop construction and booming car sales have made air quality even worse.
Beijing Olympic organizing officials refused to comment on Rogge's statement. The media relations office said rules prevented spokesmen from answering questions over the telephone.
Chinese officials have been eager to spread good news about the country's fevered preparations, with government agencies announcing Olympics-related achievements, from meeting tree-planting goals to setting up a network to monitor potential disease outbreaks.
State media reports yesterday said Beijing was stepping up power grid construction projects to ensure a stable electricity supply during the Olympics. Other plans call for environmentally friendly hybrid-electric buses at Olympic venues. Organizers have also launched an information hot line with operators who speak Chinese and English.
Indian police are investigating an alleged betting scandal in which a sham cricket tournament was held in an Indian village and passed off as a Twenty20 contest played in Sri Lanka. Players portrayed as Sri Lankan cricketers played two matches on Monday last week that were broadcast with live commentary on YouTube, media reports said, along with ball-by-ball coverage on top Indian sports Web sites. The organizers hung Sri Lankan advertisements at the ground for added authenticity and put up tents to block the view from outside the remote rural venue, set in farmland next to a busy highway. Police said that they
Taipower on Sunday charged to their third straight win and took over first place in the Taiwan Football Premier League as previous leaders Taichung Futuro suffered their first defeat of the season, while Hang Yuan rallied from two goals down to complete a thrilling 3-2 victory over National Taiwan University of Sport (NTUS). Heading into the 10th round of matches, unbeaten Taichung Futuro led the league with 21 points, but they fell to their first defeat of the season, a 1-0 loss to Tatung at the National Stadium in Kaohsiung. In a match in which both defenses were on top and there
Thailand international Pitsamai Sornsai, a new arrival for Inter Taoyuan, is to lead her team against Taipei Bravo tomorrow in the 10th round of the Taiwan Mulan Football League. Sornsai, who is nicknamed Pui, has attracted interest from media and fans as the first foreigner signed to play in Taiwan’s women’s league. Inter are among six teams battling for the title this year. The addition of Sornsai is a boost for the international profile of women’s soccer in Taiwan and elevates the competition. The 31-year-old brings a wealth of experience, including from the Asian Football Confederation’s Women’s Championship, the Southeast Asian Games and
HOTSHOT: Luis Suarez scored his 194th goal for Barca, tying him with Ladislao Kubala as the club’s third-highest scorer, behind Cesar Rodriguez and Lionel Messi With another decisive penalty from Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid on Sunday extended their perfect run after the COVID-19 suspension and moved closer to their first Spanish title in three years. Ramos scored his fifth goal since the season resumed as Madrid defeated Athletic Bilbao 1-0 to maintain a four-point lead over Barcelona, who beat fifth-placed Villarreal 4-1. Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann were among the scorers for Barcelona after assists from Lionel Messi. Ramos converted a 73rd-minute penalty to give Madrid their seventh straight victory and they remain the only team with a perfect record since La Liga resumed. “These three points are very