Separate names with a comma.
Thanks for visiting us!
Badminton Central is a free community for fans of badminton! If you find anything useful here please consider registering to see more content and get involved with our great community users, it takes less than 15 seconds! Everybody is welcome here.
Click here for a FREE account!
Discussion in 'Olympics BEIJING 2008' started by george@chongwei, Jun 16, 2008.
as usual, u can post any news on this OG08 here..if its not in english, pls translate the article
let me start 1st
Kien Keat now plays it cautious after freak accident
KUALA LUMPUR: Doubles shuttler Koo Kien Keat felt as good as new when he resumed training in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
He has recovered from cuts and bruises suffered in a freak accident 12 days ago and he will now be treading with caution in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics in August.
After a morning workout yesterday, Kien Keat had all the stitches on his hands removed in the afternoon.
“I went for jogging and did a workout at the gymnasium. I feel good and everything will be all right. By next week, I should be able to train together with my partner (Tan Boon Heong),” said Kien Keat, who suffered the injuries when the glass panel he was leaning on gave way at the Bukit Jalil Sports Complex.
“I removed the six stitches on my leg on Friday. Today, all the 20 stitches on my hands are gone.”
Kien Keat, however, said that the scars on his hand and leg would remind him to be extra cautious ahead of the Beijing Games.
“I have the phobia of glass now. No I am certainly not getting near them,” he said in a jest.
“Seriously, the scars are a reminder for me. I do not want to go through the same experience again. I know, I have created some anxiety. Now I am all focused to get back on top form for the Games.”
Kien Keat-Boon Heong are one of the two Malaysian men's pairs for the Olympics.
The other pair are veterans Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah.
OLYMPICS - Africa awarded two wild cards
congratulations Uganda and Zambia
dwin Ekirin from Uganda and Elly Mambwe from Zambia were given tripartite wild cards to participate in the upcoming Olympics, competing in Badminton, reported the Chinese News Agency Xinhua today.
"We are pleased that our efforts have been answered with Ekiring 's performance. His progress has been successful. We thank all those who have played part in making him achieve this, most especially the Olympic Solidarity," said Uganda Olympic Committee president Francis Nyangweso, quoted by loca newspaper New Vision on Thursday
Lack of quality so Rexy forced to spar with Olympic players
KUALA LUMPUR: The Olympic-bound doubles players are faced with a lack of quality sparring.
And coach Rexy Mainaky attributed it to the lack of professionalism showed by the sparring partners in the national team.
“I find this quite common among Malaysian players used for sparring sessions. They do not give their best. They would rather kill each other than helping one another,” he said. “They fail to realise that if they go all out, they will also benefit. Playing against the country’s top players is one of the best ways to improve their game. The sparring partners play well in the early stages of a drill but they dish out poor quality in the later stages. They should give full commitment and not play half-heartedly.”
For an immediate solution to the problem, Rexy has become one of the sparring partners for the Olympic-bound players.
“I am at wits’ end to find a way to inspire the sparring partners. For now, I have decided to play with the boys. At least, I feel satisfied with the quality they will receive in the sparring sessions,” said Rexy.
Currently, the BA of Malaysia (BAM) pay a full-time sparring partner RM2,000 a month.
This is the Pysio that some of you have seen on tv in TC Finals : Sandra Fiedler
PASTIKAN SEMPURNA: Eei Hui (kanan) diperiksa oleh fisioterapi Sandra Fiedler selepas latihan di Stadium Juara, Bukit Kiara.
(CEH being checked by physiotherapist Sandra Fiedler after training in Stadium Juara)
THe article is intv with WPT & CEH, Msia WD pair to OG.
They said with the 2004 experience, they hope to do better this time.
They said inconsistency has been their problem, do well in one match, next match dont do well.
WPT said they'll fight all out (bermati-matian) cos this may well be her last OG (she's 27 this year), next OG too old. Changing coach to Rexy gave them new additional stuff to learn on footwork, CHeah SK emphasised on wrist work.
CEH's knee is injured, she says need to be careful not to aggravate it but she will give her best.
Badminton players to be nicer at Olympic Games
AFP, HONG KONG
Wednesday, Jul 09, 2008, Page 19
Lin Dan of China returns the shuttlecock to Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia during their semi-final match at the Thomas Cup badminton tournament in Jakarta on May 16. PHOTO: AFP
FEATURE: First came the flying racket, then the shouting, and finally the shoving. The crowd watched stunned at this year’s Korean Open badminton final as an ugly scuffle erupted between world No. 1 one Lin Dan and a South Korean coach whose charge had the Chinese star on the ropes.
Lin, China’s best hope for badminton gold at the Olympics, apparently threw his racket in the direction of the coach, sparking a shouting match between the two. Lin’s coach joined the fracas and pushing ensued.
Officials struggled to restrain the two camps, before Lin received a yellow card for his trouble and lost the match. No apologies were offered, even after tempers had cooled.
Instead, Lin accused the coach of “verbally attacking” him during play, while the coach branded the world champion an “ill-cultivated player” — the worst he had ever known.
To outsiders badminton appears genteel, as lithe players, with deft precision and light footwork, flick a shuttlecock back and forth — all in the comfort of an air-conditioned stadium.
Unlike sports such as football and rugby, where kicking, head butting and even eye gouging in a muddy scrum seem likely, badminton appears, to the unsuspecting, sedate. But it has its share of controversy, theatrics and questionable conduct.
And although come the Beijing Olympics, players and coaches are almost certain to be on their best behavior, tensions will never the less be simmering below the surface.
Pundits, aware of the sport’s past blowups, rivalries and grudges, will be relishing a showdown between Lin, known as “Super Dan” to his fans, and arch-rival Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia.
Hidayat, branded the bad boy of badminton for his fiery temper, has clashed spectacularly with the world champion during their illustrious careers. Hidayat stunned spectators at the 2006 Hong Kong Open when, down in the first game of his quarter-final match against Lin, he stormed out in protest over a line-call.
Hidayat, whose career has drawn comparisons with tennis great John McEnroe, has since declared he has nothing against Lin, and also says he is a reformed and more relaxed character since the birth of his daughter last year.
--taken from : Taipei Times.com --
Thats true...TH is more relax now.......way relax.....
New air con fires up badminton & artistic gymnastics Olympic venue (photos attached)
Panoramic view of the gymnasium under construction
(BEIJING, March 21) -- The Beijing University of Technology Gymnasium - venue for the Badminton and Artistic Gymnastics competitions at the Games of the XXIX Olympiad - is ready to fire it up.
Its all new air conditioning system that is!
So, how do you keep the average room temperature of a gymnasium, housing more than 7,000 people during the peak summer heat of 26℃ - and at the same time ensure that the air-conditioning system would release air no faster than 0.2 m/sec?
The requirements for the air conditioning system at this Olympic venue are very strict. Too much air and a shuttlecock's flight or the artistry of a gymnast's ribbon movement will be affected.
Too little air and competitors, media and fans all begin to melt.
In addition to being an Olympic Venue in 2008, the University venue will host the Good Luck Beijing 2007 Artistic Gymnastics International Invitational Tournament later this year.
The South China University of Technology - responsible for making modifications to the air conditioning system – was under draconian guidelines that stipulated that ripping out sections of the building to put in a new air conditioning unit or altering the power of the current system would not be an option.
Instead. changes would have to be made to the air-conditioning vents. Experts at South China University of Technology suggested using a method of "breaking down the whole into its parts".
They would install three vents underneath every other seatback, for a total of 9,300 new air conditioning vents in the spectator seating area. These small vents would maintain the room temperature at 26℃ even with the loss of cool air as spectators enter the gymnasium.
The challenge was not in bringing the room temperature down but rather keeping the room temperature stable. Another challenge presented itself. How do you keep the venue temperature from rising when 7,000 people enter and leave the gymnasium at any given moment?
A clever design addition was the answer. The gymnasium entrance will be fitted with a double-layer door with a gap of over one meter-wide between the layers. The double layers will keep the air inside the gymnasium separate from the air outside. Not even a draft of air will be let in or out of the venue, thereby ensuring the stability of the venue's room temperature.
Last year, the Beijing University of Technology Gymnasium invited Li Yongbo, Head Coach of the Chinese national badminton team and his wife for a visit. Mrs. Li (Xie Ying) directs the artistic gymnastics department at the Gymnastics Management Center of State Sport General Bureau.
University Vice President Zhang Ailin hoped the couple could give them insight into how to solve their persistent air conditioning problems. Coach Li said that although they could easily convey the Olympic requirements, very few venues can meet them.
Badminton is a common sport in China but, of the 28 major events of the Olympic Games, it rarely takes the spotlight. In fact, until the 2008 Beijing 2008 Games, badminton venues have historically been temporary, makeshift ones.
Certainly, no one has considered the temperature of the badminton venue to be a potential problem. At the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, the badminton venue was converted from a section of the Convention and Exhibition Center; at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, the venue was created from a large cotton curtain separating inside from outside.
Now preparing for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, organizers will try their best to satisfy the needs of countless badminton fans. The Beijing University of Technology Gymnasium will come closest yet to meeting the requirements set by the International Badminton Federation for an appropriate badminton facility.
Famed Chinese badminton player Zhang Ning, says her favorite competition is the World Badminton Championships in Birmingham, England in March. One of the reasons for this is because the match takes place in March - when the temperature is just right and no air conditioning is needed.
After visiting the 2008 Beijing Games badminton venue, Ms. Zhang was promised that she would experience an air cooled badminton venue facility even better Birmingham.
And she was!
Exterior of core venue
Construction management office
Safety and caution signs above core venue construction site entrance
Core venue exterior
beware!! the danish team is coming to town
Denmark to dispatch ten-strong badminton squad
Updated：2008-07-08 (BEIJING, July 8) -- Denmark will dispatch a ten-person badminton squad to Beijing for the upcoming Olympic Games.
Veteran Peter Gade, four-time European champion and Athens Olympic Games semifinalist, will compete in the Men's Singles competition. He is currently ranked 9th in the world. 34-year-old Kenneth Jonassen, who is ranked fifth in the world, will also be part of the Danish team. He is the 2008 European Championships gold medalist.
In the women's singles, world No. 4 Tine Rasmussen, freshly crowned in the Singapore Super Series 2008, is expected to win a medal for Denmark.
Jens Eriksen will compete in the men's doubles competition with Martin Lundgaard. Triple Olympian Eriksen has been playing for the past 30 years and accomplished numerous achievements. Together with former partner Malene Thomsen, Eriksen seized a bronze medal in the Athens Olympic Games. The Olympic Games in Beijing this August will be his last. As such, the 39-year-old is eyeing a medal.
Lars Paaske and Jonas Rasmussen will also participate in the men's soubles. Considered Denmark's heroes, they won the first World Championships gold medal in men's soubles for Denmark in more than 20 years.
Women's doubles player Lena Frier Kristiansen will make her first Olympic appearance with 25-year-old Kamilla Rytter Juhl, who will also compete in the mixed doubles with Thomas Laybourn.
The drawing ceremony for the Beijing Olympic Games badminton competition will be hosted by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) in Beijing on July 26, 2008.
Peter Gade (Photo credit: CFP)
Tine Rasmussen (Photo credit: CFP)
-Taken from : AFP Sport News (July 11, 2008)-
USA set to defend Olympic medal supremacy in Beijing
14 hours ago
WASHINGTON (AFP) — Americans will attempt to lead the overall medal table for the fourth Summer Olympics in a row next month in Beijing, but hosts China and Russia will challenge for supremacy in golds and total medals.
US teams had the greatest medal haul for a record fourth Games in a row at Los Angeles in 1932. While Soviet Union talent topped the table eight times from 1956 to 1992, it never equaled that mark.
US squads have led the medal charts at Atlanta in 1996, Sydney in 2000 and Athens four years ago. But this time, the Chinese are going for the medal crown as hosts and with a formidable squad backed by throngs of cheering supporters.
"Russia, China and the US are vying with the most legitimate shot at the top medal count at the Olympics," said Steve Roush, chief of sport performance for the US Olympic Committee (USOC).
"This is going to be a highly competitive field. It has created an excitement around these Olympics that has been missing for a while."
In 2004, Americans claimed 102 medals, 36 of them gold. Russians took 92 overall, 27 gold, while China had 63 overall but most, 32, were gold.
China's challenge figures to be formidable. Could the US team hit the wall?
"China has an incredibly strong team. Host nations generally have home field advantage. There's a job to be done," Roush said.
"They've infused large numbers of people behind their sports program. We probably pale in comparison in terms of the level we're able to give support to our athletes.
"They've hired the world's best coaches to come in and not only coach their athletes but coach their coaches so they can improve for future generations."
But don't count on the Americans handing over the crown without a fight.
"We have a strong team. We're making no allusions about thinking the Chinese have the stongest team," USOC chief executive Jim Scherr said.
The 2004 US team won 28 medals in swimming and 25 in athletics, more than half the total American medal haul from Athens. But no one wants to toss out a medal goal for Beijing.
"We hope to do much better than the team in Athens," US swim coach Mark Schubert said.
"We want to win as many medals as possible," US women's athletics coach Jeanette Bolden said.
After US medal totals of 101, 92 and 102 at the past three Olympics, that is likely to be the range needed this time.
"I've never talked about numbers. It's one of those pressures you don't need," said US men's Olympic track coach Bubba Thornton.
"I don't think it really matters where we are. Who wins the medal count? That's what (reporters) always ask about, put the graphic up there with the medal table.
"That's why we're going - to show our competitiveness, sportsmanship, how we do things."
Americans had 97 medals at Sydney before athletics star Marion Jones admitted being a dope cheat and was stripped of three golds and two bronzes, but USOC chairman Peter Ueberroth has vowed to send a "clean team" to Beijing.
Watch the stars who will give back medals in eight years is not exactly a great marketing slogan for the US-based corporate sponsors who greatly finance the Olympic movement.
"This will be a clean team," Ueberroth said. "We're proud of the progress we've made in doping. We don't have a guarantee but we're pleased. The things you are hearing about are from a previous era. We're in a new era."
Ueberroth thinks the US system of talent development will not be humbled by products of China's intense youth sport development programs.
"I think our system will be competitive and I think it will work," he said.
Swimmer Michael Phelps will be the top US star as he chases Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals in a single Olympics.
Phelps took six golds and two bronzes at Athens, where US swimmers led the way with 12 gold, nine silver and seven bronze medals and Australia next with seven gold, five silver and three bronze. US men won nine golds overall.
Phelps is the world record-holder in four of his five individual events - the 200m freestyle, 200m butterfly and 200m and 400m individual medleys and is a former world record-holder in the 100 fly, where US teammate Ian Crocker has the world record.
"We have a very strong men's team. We're proud of that. But we have to go to the Olympics and perform," Schubert said. "A lot of our challenge on the men's side will come from the Australians, from the Japanese, from the Europeans."
The US Olympic lineup also features the reigning women's world gymnastics champions and all-around champion Shawn Johnson and a National Basketball Association squad set to reclaim the throne after slumping to a bronze in Athens.
Copyright © 2008 AFP. All rights reserved.
Looks like Michael Phelps will break 'swimming legend' Mark Spitz record in Beijing next month. The top-three USA, CHN and RUS will show off their sport superpower who will be the BEST between them, hmmm sounds so interesting!
Cleaner air coming to Beijing, at least for the Olympics..
..as snipped from Yahoo!'s news wire...
Beijing begins massive Olympic shutdown
By STEPHEN WADE, AP Sports Writer
2 hours, 53 minutes ago
BEIJING - Beijing's Olympic shutdown begins Sunday, a drastic plan to lift the Chinese capital's gray shroud of pollution just three weeks ahead of the games.
Half of Beijing's 3.3 million vehicles will be pulled off the roads and many polluting factories will be shuttered. Chemical plants, power stations and foundries left open have to cut emissions by 30 percent — and dust-spewing construction in the capital will be halted.
In a highly stage-managed Olympics aimed at showing off the rising power of the 21st century, no challenge is greater than producing crystalline air for 10,500 of the world's greatest athletes.
"Pea-soup air at the opening ceremony would be their worst nightmare," said Victor Cha, director of Asian Studies at Georgetown University.
Striking venues and $40 billion spent to improve infrastructure cannot mask Beijing's dirty air. A World Bank study found China is home to 16 of the 20 worst cities for air quality. Three-quarters of the water flowing through urban areas is unsuitable for drinking or fishing.
International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge has repeatedly warned that outdoor endurance events lasting more than an hour will be postponed if the air quality is poor.
Under the two-month plan, vehicles will be allowed on the roads every other day depending on even-odd registration numbers. In addition, 300,000 heavy polluting vehicles — aging industrial trucks, many of which operate only at night — were banned beginning July 1.
Five days after Sunday's traffic ban goes into effect, special Olympic traffic lanes will begin operating until Sept. 25, a plan that has been used in previous games. Beijing is setting aside 165 miles of roadway on which certified Olympic vehicles will be allowed to move from hotels, Olympic venues and Athletes Village.
To further ease congestion, employers are being asked to stagger work schedules. Public institutions will open an hour later than normal and two new subway lines scheduled to open Sunday should also bring relief.
The plan to clean the gray air seems to match the high-security tone of the games, which will be policed by 100,000 officials.
Razor-wire barriers and soldiers standing at attention guard the outskirts of the Olympic Green area and the Chinese have even installed ground-to-air missiles near one Olympic venue to protect it from possible attacks.
Security, tight visa rules and inflated hotel prices seem to be keeping foreigners away. Many nightspots near Olympic venue are being closed by security officials, who say the games are under threat from Muslim extremists in China's western Xinjiang region.
Beijing organizers are also in a protracted showdown with TV broadcasters, who are seeking free movement and reporting during the games. China's communist government seems to fear being embarrassed during the games by pro-Tibet activists, local dissidents or critics of China's human rights policies.
The gigantic experiment to curb pollution could still go wrong.
Veerabhadran Ramanathan, an atmospheric scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, said unpredictable winds could blow pollution into Beijing despite factory shutdowns in the city and five surrounding provinces.
Ramanathan is leading a multinational research project in tracking Beijing's pollution before, during and after the Olympics.
"Reducing the local emissions is going to reduce the local pollution, but is that sufficient to help the athletes breath cleaner air? This is going to depend on the winds," he said.
Beijingers told to mind their manners
By Michael Bristow
BBC News, Beijing
Olympics propaganda promotes smiles and displays of unity
Beijing citizens have been told not to pick their noses, yawn or scratch their heads when talking to foreigners during the Olympics.
They have also been given a list of things not to ask overseas visitors - a list so exhaustive it could make conversation difficult.
Ordinary people have also been given detailed instructions on how to talk to disabled people during the Paralympics.
Chinese officials want ordinary people to show the country's most civilised face during the sporting events.
A booklet prepared by the propaganda department of Beijing's Dongcheng District gives locals an introduction to the games.
It has a special section on dealing with foreigners, including what to do when talking to overseas visitors.
'Wear a smile'
"In conversation, wear a smile, don't stare too long or do anything to make people feel ill at ease," it says.
The booklet advises Beijing people to say to disabled people such things as: 'You're really excellent'
It also warns Beijing people not to yawn, shout, pick their noses, scratch their heads, play with their fingernails or pull at their clothes while talking. The booklet suggests people abide by the "eight don't ask" principle when talking to foreigners.
Subjects to avoid include what foreigners earn or how much they spend, how old they are, whether they are married and whether they are healthy.
Also off-limits are questions about where foreigners live, where they have worked, their religious or political beliefs, or what they are currently doing.
In the booklet, propaganda chiefs remind Beijing citizens to be careful when being interviewed by foreign journalists during the Olympics, which begin on 8 August.
It tells them not to say or do anything that harms national prestige, the country's image or national security.
Beijing officials are obviously concerned about how disabled people will be treated during the Paralympics, which takes place just after the Olympics.
"Before you help [a disabled person], first of all get their agreement and co-operation. Absolutely do not use force or be too enthusiastic," says the booklet.
Queuing is to be encouraged, say authorities
It advises Beijing people to say to disabled people such things as: "You're really excellent".
Officials have long been concerned about their own citizens' behaviour during the Olympics, and have launched several campaigns to stamp out bad habits.
The 11th day of the month was designated queuing day, instituted to convince people not to barge onto buses and trains.
These campaigns are generally supported by ordinary people.
"The queuing campaign definitely helps people to behave better," said Yang Xiaoyan as she waited to board a train at Beijing Yonghegong Temple subway station.
"In the past it was really chaotic at this subway station," she added.
Queuing, crossing the road, driving a car, watching Olympic events and talking to foreigners: Officials want to make sure everyone does it right.
High hopes for Asia at Beijing
First Posted 12:12:00 07/21/2008
SINGAPORE -- Asian nations will without doubt bag plenty of medals at the Olympics but what is blindingly clear is that host China will outdo all its regional competitors.
At the 2004 Games in Athens 15 Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) nations fought their way onto the medal table.
A rampant China had its best-ever performance, finishing second overall to the United States with 32 gold, while Japan with 16 gold came fifth. South Korea's nine gold earned them ninth place.
The key question in August will be whether China can topple the United States as the world's most powerful sporting nation.
"China has an incredibly strong team. Host nations generally have home-field advantage," admitted Steve Roush, the US Olympic Committee chief of sport performance.
"It may keep me up at night but it's keeping up coaches and young athletes around this country too. There's a job to be done."
While the three Asian heavyweights should again take the bulk of the glory, smaller fry like Thailand, Taiwan, and Hong Kong put athletes on the podium in 2004 and will be looking to improve in Beijing.
Mongolia, Iran, Indonesia, North Korea, Uzbekistan, UAE, Kazakhstan, Syria, and India also tasted limited success.
While lacking in blue riband events like swimming and athletics, China remains dominant in diving, table tennis, and badminton. It is also strong on the shooting ranges while it's women's weightlifters are top class.
Hurdler Liu Xiang is their great hope on the track, while Wu Peng could pick up a medal in the pool.
With a resurgence in judo, swimming, wrestling and gymnastics, Japan, Asia's top nation sporting power before China bulldozed its way to the top, also did better than expected in Athens and will want to build on that in Beijing.
Their key aim will be overtake Australia in the medals table while keeping arch-rival South Korea at bay.
"We are targeting gold medals in two digits and a total of more than 30 medals. That is the bottom line," said Tomiaki Fukuda, head of Japan's delegation to Beijing.
They have high hopes for judo icon Ryoko Tani to win her third straight Olympic title while Mizuki Noguchi has her marathon crown to defend. In equestrian Hiroshi Hoketsu is Asia's oldest competitor at 67.
The Koreans have at least one trick up their sleeve in teenage swim sensation Park Tae-Hwan, who burst onto the scene at the 2006 Asian Games when he took three freestyle gold medals.
He followed it up with a stunning upset victory in the 400m freestyle at the world championships last year in Melbourne, inspiring other Asian swimmers as he gatecrashed the usual US-Australian domination of the sport.
He is South Korea's first world swimming champion and there are high hopes for him in Beijing.
Elsewhere, the region has some of the world's best boxers, with Thailand and and Uzbekistan having the talent to cause jitters in traditional Olympic power Cuba.
Thailand has one of its strongest boxing teams ever, led by defending light-welterweight champion Manus Boonjumnong, flyweight Somjit Jongjorhor, and bantamweight Worapoj Petchkoom.
"In previous editions, we rested our hopes on one or two boxers to take the medal," said Taweep Jantararoj, president of Amatuer Boxing Association of Thailand.
"For this Olympics, everyone has a chance."
Taiwan is a power in taekwondo, while badminton and table tennis are Asian domains. It will be the rest of the world trying to muscle into these sports rather than the other way round in Beijing.
Defending badminton champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia will again be out to upset world No.1 Lin Dan of China, while Lin's girlfriend Xie Xingfang is the player to beat in the women's event.
Paddlers from Hong Kong and Singapore will be snapping at China's heels in the table tennis, where Wang Hao and Zhang Yining are the best players currently on the planet.
Copyright 2008 Agence France-Presse. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
---Philippines Inquirer.net (Sport Breaking News)---
hope asian countires do well beside China....
Quite a few hotels in Beijing are still half full..
...heard from a couple sources today and in the news, that some of Beijing's hotels (mostly 3 to 4-star hotels) will cut their rates up to 30%. Gas prices (airfare) & trouble of getting visas have been cited as main reasons.
Beijing hotels slash rates after expected Olympic demand falters
By HENRY SANDERSON,Associated Press Writer AP - 54 minutes ago
BEIJING - Some hotels in Beijing have cut their rates by as much as 30 percent as expected high demand for the Olympic Games has not materialized, a travel agent said Tuesday.
Fan Runjun, an employee of the press department of popular travel Web site Ctrip.com, said many two- to four-star hotels have cut their rates by 10 percent to 20 percent compared to May and June. Some have cut rates by up to 30 percent, she said.
The Web site's English-language section deals with about 500 hotels.
Beijing was expecting 500,000 foreign guests for the Aug. 8-24 Olympics, but has been scaling back that estimate. Some people have been scared off by high prices, while others have had trouble getting visas.
China has ratcheted up security for the games, tightening visa rules even for foreign travelers who hold Olympics tickets. Multiple-entry visas have also been restricted, causing a drop in business travel.
The government has said the games are a target of terrorism, and reported breaking up plots to attack the games by Islamic radicals in the western province of Xinjiang. In a show of force, China's military has stationed a ground-to-air missile battery just 300 yards (273 meters) from one Beijing Olympic venue.
A man surnamed Wu from the China Hotel Management Association, who was unwilling to give his full name or position as is common in China, said most three-star hotels or below were cutting prices because occupancy rates were not as high as expected.
"The three-star hotels and those below might have seen the Olympics as a good opportunity to raise rates, and now that they found there aren't enough guests booking their rooms, they have to cut their prices," he said.
Most Olympic hotels that have been approved by the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee are four- or five- star, he said, and their rooms have already been booked. Those hotels cater to Olympic officials, sponsors and national Olympic delegations. Their prices were set last year, by negotiation, rather than by market demand, he said.
Beijing Olympics: Battle for gold offers China first chance to 'defeat' America
The Olympic host is straining every sinew to dislodge the US from the top of the medals table, a badge of global superpower status.
By David Eimer in Beijing and Colin Freeman
Last Updated: 1:58AM BST 21 Jul 2008
China's attempt to end America's recent supremacy at the Games will add an East-West frisson not seen since the demise of the Soviet Union Photo: REUTERS
China's emerging rivalry with America as a global superpower will move into the sporting arena next month as its Olympic athletes strive to oust their US counterparts from the top of the medals table for the first time.
In a showdown reminiscent of the Cold War-era battles for Olympian dominance, China has put unprecedented effort into ensuring that Beijing 2008 will be a sporting triumph as well as a logistical one.
With their athletes already dominant in events such as gymnastics, table tennis and martial arts, Chinese sporting chiefs have spent the past few years focusing on disciplines where Americans have traditionally excelled, including swimming, basketball and athletics.
Such is the host nation's eagerness to sweep the board that it has borrowed Western sporting expertise: honing the skills of the Chinese women's basketball team, for example, is the Australian coach Tom Maher.
He was drafted into the job to replace the Chinese coach after the team failed to make the top eight in the 2004 Athens Olympics.
China's attempt to end America's run of supremacy at the last three Games will add an East-West frisson not seen since the demise of the Soviet Union, which topped the medals board eight times in the post-war period. While the rest of the world's eyes will be on the heroics of the individual contestants, Chinese officials will pay closest attention to the total medal tally. Some expect America to take an early lead with the many swimming events in the first few days – but be squeezed by China as other disciplines kick in.
The increasing focus on athletics as the 16-day contest progresses may favour America in the final stages.
Meanwhile, giving both countries a run for their money will be increasingly oil-rich Russia, which, like China, sees the Games as an opportunity to underscore its new-found economic and political clout.
Darryl Seibel, a spokesman for the US Olympic Committee, said: "We expect this to be one of the most competitive Olympics in recent history. That is down to a combination of China's investment in its Olympic programme, Russia's decision to do the same and the policy of some nations like Britain, which are targeting specific medals in sports that are important to them. China has to be considered the favourite. Every host nation receives a huge boost." China's new-found prowess in the international sporting arena is a product of both its increased openness to the outside world and its steady rise as a global economic gladiator.
Having boycotted the Games throughout the 1960s and 1970s because the International Olympic Committee recognised Taiwan as a member, the country notched up 15 gold medals in 1984, its first ever. By the Athens Games in 2004 it was in second place, winning 32 golds compared with America's 36.
Gold medal tallies, rather than tallies that also include bronzes and silvers, are the yardstick used by the International Olympic Committee to judge which nation ranks best. This year, China's gold share is likely to reach between 44 and 46 out of the 302 available, according to Simon Shibli, head of the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University.
"I predict they could top the table this year, based on them continuing their rate of improvement and factoring in the home nation effect," he said.
America, he estimated, would win 38 to 39 golds, although he stressed that his detailed analysis had focused on China alone.
Key to China's attempt to come first this year is Project 119, an intensive training programme that aims to maximise Chinese inroads into Western-dominated athletics and water sports, such as swimming, canoeing and sailing. Named after the total number of gold medals available in those disciplines, the project is responsible for producing heroes like Liu Xiang, the reigning Olympic and World 110 metres hurdles champion, whose victories have led to him being mobbed by fans wherever he goes in China.
The Chinese have also pumped money into more obscure sports such as archery and shooting, meaning that a host of relative unknowns could notch up additional medals. Golds are all but guaranteed, meanwhile, for the likes of Zhang Yining, the world's top female table tennis player, who is expected to repeat her double triumph at Athens.
Mao Zhi Xiong, professor of sports psychology at Beijing Sports University, insisted it was only a "possibility" that China would secure the biggest medal sweep. But he agreed that a Chinese victory would be boost its international prestige.
"If you win a lot of medals, then it shows you have advanced as a country," he said. "It means the economy is growing, that living standards are improving and that there is better technology."
Ai Baoguo, editor of the Chinese edition of Sports Illustrated, said both Chinese officialdom and the public had huge expectations of their Olympic team.
For successful athletes, the rewards go well beyond the medals podium, with large cash bonuses, test-free entry to university, and, thanks to the country's new-found spirit of capitalism, lucrative sponsorship deals.
But the training regimes are still reminiscent of those used in East Germany in the Soviet era. Promising children are hothoused from as young as six in elite, sports-focused boarding schools, where their access to their families is often limited. Only last week, Joseph Capousek, a successful German kayak coach who was recently sacked as trainer of the Chinese national team, said his former employers ran a military?style training regime where athletes were worked "like horses". Chinese officials have denied his claims.
American hopes for this year will be riding on the swimmers Michael Phelps and Katie Hoff, who hope to win eight and seven gold medals respectively. If Phelps succeeds he will beat the American swimmer Mark Spitz's 1972 record of seven golds for a single Games.
Should either of them fall ill for any reason, the potential damage to America's medal tallies would be substantial: fears of food poisoning have led the US Olympic Committee to bring in their own caterers to Beijing, which has not gone down well with their Chinese hosts.
A recent analysis by economists at PriceWaterhouseCoopers concluded that China was on target to win 88 medals overall, compared with 87 for the US, making the actual outcome too close to call.
Away from the sports field, and on more conventional superpower indices, it will take longer for China to overhaul America. Its nuclear arsenal numbers only a few hundred warheads compared with the thousands hoarded by Washington, despite increased military spending in recent years. In technology, design and innovation the gap is still closing, rather than closed.
However, Albert Keidel, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for World Peace, a Washington think tank, suggested in a report this month that Beijing would eclipse the US in less than 30 years. "I find, using what I consider to be quite conservative growth projections, that China will pass the United States in total GDP in about 2035," he told The Sunday Telegraph. "And by about 2055 or so, it will be double the United States' economy."
Whatever happens in Beijing, Chinese supremacy at the Olympics looks almost certain within a matter of years.
Steve Roush, the US Olympic Committee's head of sports performance, said recently that with a population of 1.3 billion – more than four times that of the US – future Chinese dominance was a statistical certainty. "You start doing the math, and that's what keeps me up at night," he said.
Additional reporting: Tim Shipman in Washington and Simon Hart
---telegraph.co.uk (World News)---
That's not statistical certainty... that's statistical inanity
Yes, it's more than just likely that China will overtake the US in the gold rush.
But it won't happen merely because of China's numbers.
More people doesn't mean better performance.
Many other factors hold more sway than numbers.
India has a population well in excess of a billion.
That isn't helping it win Olympic golds in individual events.
In fact, India has never won an Olympic gold in an individual event.
Steve Roush, please go to sleep
Bach is Back
Hats off to Howard Bach
He continues to do what he can to promote badminton.
Here's NBC rehashing the 'commercial' story.
Badminton gains new fame
Badminton duo vs. Ortiz and Urlacher
Posted Monday, July 21, 2008 4:00 PM ET
Glaceau Vitamin Water has a new commercial out that is giving badminton some much owed attention.
The commercial features two of America's best in badminton and two big names in major American sports.
Howard Bach and Bob Malaythong can thank Boston Red Sox player David Ortiz and Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher for creating a buzz around badminton.
Bach and Malaythong portray China's #1 badminton team Yang and Lau.
"The commercial tried to be as authentic as possible and I think they did a good job," Malaythong said.
The team portraying China is no match against the rookie badminton players, Urlacher and Ortiz, who have vitamin c and tourine-packed Vitamin Water on their side.
Although badminton is largely unpopular in America, in other parts of the world it is a phenomenon. In Beijing for example badminton is one of the top 3 sports.
Some may wonder what inspired the American badminton duo to take part in the commercial.
"It's my way of trying to promote the sport and say, ‘Hey it's a serious sport, second most popular' I'll keep on saying that over and over again until people try it. It's a lot harder than it looks." Bach said.
Badminton may be more difficult than it looks, but swatting a shuttlecock has never been cooler in America.
"I had calls from friends, long lost friends, people I didn't know," Bach said.
The U.S. badminton team is adjusting to the fame that the commercial has brought to their sport.
"I think it was actually good because we had two high profiled athletes there too. One of them won the World Series so definitely they actually put badminton on the hot press too as well. So coming to the Olympics it's definitely one of the top sports that people are going to tune into," Bach said.
Wan Wah: Seedings don’t mean a thing at the Olympics
By LIM TEIK HUAT
KUALA LUMPUR: Only the top four doubles pairs will be seeded for the badminton competition in the Beijing Olympics this time, compared to eight previously.
But it makes no difference to veteran doubles player Lee Wan Wah, who will be partnering Choong Tan Fook in their third and final Olympic appearance.
Wan Wah-Tan Fook will be seeded fourth behind All-England champions Lee Yong-dae-Jung Jae-sung of South Korea.
Indonesia’s Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan and China’s Fu Haifeng-Cai Yun will be the first and second seeds respectively when the Olympic badminton draw is made on Saturday.
Malaysian chef-de-mission Datuk Ho Koh Chye trying on the official attire for the Beijing Olympic Games with a little help from Mesuma manager William Heng. Looking on is Mesuma assistant manager Maya Heng. Mesuma are the official sponsors for the national team's attire.
Malaysia’s second pair of Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong, who will be making their Olympic debut, are not seeded.
“It would be better for the favourites if there were eight seeded pairs for the Olympics. From the current world rankings, it will be anyone’s game among the top eight pairs. Whoever hit top form have a chance to win it and it will be dangerous if we meet any of the fifth to eighth seeded pairs in the first round,” said Wan Wah.
Among those who could trouble the veteran pair from the early rounds onwards are World Championships bronze medallist Shuichi Sakamoto-Shintaro Ikeda, Danes Lars Paaske-Jonas Rasmussen and Jens Eriksen-Martin Lundgaard Hansen, South Korea’s Lee Jae-jin-Hwang Ji-man and Indonesia’s Alvent Yulianto-Luluk Hadiyanto.
For Wan Wah-Tan Fook, things remain unchanged in their third Olympics when it comes to preparation.
But what’s different is their approach this time, having learnt their lessons from the previous Olympic campaign in Athens four years ago.
They went in as the world number one after winning the Malaysian Open just before the Olympics but lost in the quarter-finals to South Koreans Lee Dong-soo-Yoo Yong-sung, who eventually went on to take silver.
“Our mentality is different. We will go in to compete and enjoy and not put unnecessary pressure on ourselves,” said the 33-year-old Wan Wah.
“The pressure was great then. In the end, we put too much pressure on ourselves.”
Wan Wah-Tan Fook’s best result at the Olympics was in Sydney 2000, where they lost to South Koreans Ha Tae-kwon-Kim Dong-moon in the play-off for the bronze medal.
“It’s rare to get a chance to play in three Olympics and I can’t imagine myself going for a fourth,” said Wan Wah.
“While we want to enjoy what should be our last Olympic campaign, that does not mean we will not take our chances if the opportunities arise.”