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  Geological protection in Taishan highly praised  



QINGDAO: The 2006 Qingdao International Regatta raised its curtain last night for the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Centre in this coastal city in East China's Shandong Province.

As the first test event for the 2008 Olympics, the competition will play host to a massive and star-studded fleet. World and Olympic champions are on the list of over 460 sailors at this International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Grade 2 International Regatta, according to the organizing committee.

Participants come from 41 countries and regions, including 22 teams from Europe and 9 from Asia.

Among them there are 13 medal winners from the 2004 Athens Olympics - four gold, five silver and four bronze. A total of 111 of the participators are among the top 20 in different classes in the ISAF August Ranking, published on August 3.

The sailing competition is expected to be an exciting event, with ten days of racing beginning today.

The regatta features all the Olympic sailing competition's 9 classes' 11 events. It is taking place with a newly-adopted competition format. Each event series will consist of 10 races (15 races for the 49er) and a medal race on August 30. The top ten competitors in the first ten races will qualify for the medal race. Results for the medal race will be double weighted.

Athletes arrived at Qingdao days beforehand to practise and adapt to the venue's environment.

"It is very important to hold a successful regatta to show the world that Beijing, not merely Qingdao, will present the world with the best-ever Games in history in 2008," said Liu Peng, director of the China State General Administration of Sports, during yesterday's opening ceremony.

"The ISAF is very impressed by all the wonderful work Qingdao has done," said ISAF Vice-President David Kellet, "There is no other city in the world that has done such advanced preparation work. We can already say we are having a magnificent sailing regatta."

"The event will be a unique opportunity to experience some of the Olympic atmosphere and get familiar to the venue and waters we are going to use in 2008.





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