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  Rizhao build a water sports paradise  



Relying on its unique natural advantages, the city of Rizhao in Shandong Province is planning to build itself into a famous water sports destination, city mayor Yang Jun said.

"Boasting blue skies, clean seawater, plenty of sunshine and beautiful beaches, we have all the good conditions for water sports," said Yang.

The Wanpingkou Lagoon in particular, one of the largest lagoons in China, is an ideal place for holding such water sports events as rowing and yacht racing.

In addition to its natural conditions, the city has already developed a lot of water sports facilities.

For example, the Rizhao International Yacht Race Center, said to be the largest in Asia, has been designated by the General Administration of Sport as the national water sports training base and selected by the International Olympic Committee to be the training venue for the 2008 Olympic Games' yacht racing and sailboat racing events.

Moreover, the Rizhao Olympic Water Sports Park is now under construction. Upon completion, it will be able to host various water sports events.

Yang said his confidence in building Rizhao into a famous water sports destination also comes from the city's rich experience in hosting many international and national water sports events.

Rizhao will host the First National Water Games in August this year. This is the fourth largest national sports event after the Chinese National Games, the city games and the university games.

The large-scale event, covering almost all kinds of water sports, will help Rizhao gain valuable experience in holding comprehensive water sports events.

The excellent transportation conditions are also helpful for the city to develop water sports. As the bridgehead of the Eurasian Continental Bridge, the city has made great efforts to improve its port, railway and highway facilities, making itself one of the transportation hubs in East China.

To offer human resource support for the development of water sports, the city has established the Shandong Water Sports College. Athletes and students engaged in water sports management are now trained at the school.

The city is working on a detailed plan for the construction of a water sports destination, Yang added.

In addition to professional competitions, tourism, culture, boat manufacturing and related services are also important parts of the plan.

Large sums of capital have been channeled into building infrastructural facilities and improving the environment.

According to Yang, about 450 million yuan has been invested in building the Rizhao Olympic Water Sports Park. Construction of the park, located in the picturesque Wanpingkou Lagoon, will be completed in June.

Investment in the park and its neighboring facilities has actually amounted to more than 2 billion yuan. These include the Wanpingkou Ecological Park and the Lighthouse Square, popular touring destinations for travelers from outside the city as well as local residents.

In addition, the city invested 2.44 billion yuan last year to launch 19 infrastructure construction projects. Four million square meters of green area have been created, further improving the city's ecological environment.

Yang said this year's National Water Games is a good opportunity for the city to further improve its environment and promote its image.

He said the city's service providers, including hotels, restaurants, and transportation and communication firms, have all pledged to offer excellent services for the Games.

The city government has also established a special website for the Games, which will contain information related to the event.





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