Beijing Olympic briefs

August 9th, 2008 - 9:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Aug 9 (DPA) A few hours after the ear-splitting pyrotechnics of the opening ceremony, the area around the Bird’s Nest National Stadium was a place of contemplative calm. Where 91,000 people had been celebrating, there were now groups of Chinese either sunk in meditation or simply sprawled across the wooden benches in the square in front of the stadium, loudly snoring.

OVERFLOWING: Spectator facilities at the ranges used for heats in the air rifle and air pistol events had to be shut down Saturday, so great was the surge of competitor back-up teams, camera people, other media and ordinary spectators jostling for space. Organisers assured that the sometimes ugly scenes would not be repeated at the finals, due to be held in a much bigger hall with separate facilities for media and spectators.

PRESIDENTIAL: South Korea’s women’s handball squad lined up at a specially closed-off section of the court to receive the congratulations of President Lee Myung-bak on their holding world champions Russia to a 29-29 draw in their opening match.

BROTHERS, SISTERS: Teams in the handball tournament feature five sets of brothers and sisters. Poland’s world vice-champions have brothers Krzystof and Marcin Lijewski, France has Bertrand and Guillaume Gille, and Spain has Alberto and Raul Entrerrios. Women’s teams include Norway’s Krisine Lunde and Katrine Lunde Haraldsen, and Angola’s Liusa Kiala and Natalie Maria Bernardo.

GREENER AND GREENER: Badminton European champion Huaiwen Xu, now a German national, hardly recognised the city of her birth on returning to Beijing for the first time since 2005. “There are lot of trees, and everything’s very green - quite different from last time,” she said. And the Olympic Village is “wonderful - no comparison with Athens in 2004. You really have to say the Chinese have gone to a lot of trouble to be good hosts.”

TALLEST, SHORTEST: Germany’s Johannes Bitter and Spain’s Juan Prieto are the tallest taking part in the handball competition - both measuring 2.04 metres - 34 centimetres taller than the shortest man, Silvio Robeiro of Brazil. The tallest woman handballer, Russia’s Yelena Polenova, is on the same level as the two tallest men, and a full 40 centimetres taller than the shortest woman - another Brazilian, Aline Rosas.

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