Olympic Village officially opens in Beijing

The Olympic Village was officially opened Sunday morning as dozens of Chinese athletes entered the compound. The village will provide accommodations for 16,000 athletes, coaches and their entourage coming for the Olympics, Xinhua reported.

The Chinese delegation to the Beijing Olympic Games held the first flag-raising ceremony at the Olympic Village Sunday morning as the village officially opened to athletes moments ago.

The ceremony for the Chinese delegation began as its national flag being raised and its national anthem being played.

"Welcome to your own home," said village mayor Chen Zhili.

Chen said the Olympics provides great opportunities for communication between athletes around the world.

"As athletes from the host country, I hope you to develop the awareness of hosts when living in the village and show the peaceful, civilized and open image of China to the Olympic family," she said to the Chinese athletes.

Representing the Olympic Village, Chen gave a present to the Chinese delegation, the first entering the village. Liu Peng, chef de mission of the Chinese delegation, also presented a gift to the mayor.

Chinese basketball player Wang Zhizhi who participated in the Sydney Olympics, said he felt at ease as living and competing in his own country.

"There is no time difference and I don't need to drag my luggage," Wang said.

Huang Yubin, coach of the Chinese gymnastics team, said he had to ask the volunteers to show him around the village first and to see whether there is something they have to bring into.

Deng Yaping, vice mayor of the village, said the whole village operation team has been working to "create the feel of home".

"Wish them all have fun here," she said.

Some 300 athletes and coaches from 10 Chinese national teams of wrestling, judo, track and field, handball, gymnastics, men's basketball, field hockey, weightlifting, swimming and badminton, attended the ceremony.

China sends a 1,099-member delegation, including 639 athletes, to the Beijing Olympic Games, its largest ever contingent to the Olympic Games.

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