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Guangzhou ready for grand opening of Asiad tonight

11-12-2010 16:55 BJT Special Report:Guangzhou Asian Games |

GUANGZHOU, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- After six years of preparation, China's southern city of Guangzhou is finally poised to raise the curtain on the 2010 Asian Games.

The Games' extravagant opening ceremony will begin Friday evening at 8:00 p.m. Beijing time with dazzling light displays and a fireworks show on Haixinsha Island.

The athletes will be transported to the ceremony along the Pearl River aboard colorful and ornately decorated boats as legions of performers hail them from the riverside.

The 2010 Asian Games will see a record 9,704 athletes from 45 Asian countries and regions participate.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, IOC president Jacques Rogge and leaders and royal family members from other Asian countries will also attend the opening ceremony.

On Friday, amid the countdown to the Games' start, authorities in Guangzhou said the city was ready to play its part hosting the games.

Five planes and 1,000 rockets are ready to dispel rain that might interrupt the opening ceremony. But Friday evening's forecast say weather conditions are good and the measures are unlikely to be needed.

The security level of the city has been raised to its highest, with stringent security checks set in the city's subways and temporary traffic controls imposed on roads adjacent to the venue of the opening ceremony.

Furthermore, residents in several communities near Haixinsha Island have been temporarily removed from homes during the gala evening for security concerns.

Lin Jie, who resides in Dijing Community along the river, said she has to stay at her parents' house Friday night. Authorities paid every person who had to move for the night 300 yuan in compensation.

"It is inconvenient but I accept it because we Chinese like to make guests feel comfortable," said Lin.

Guangzhou, a prominent metropolis in south China's industrial area, will receive an influx of visitors. Tourism officials estimate the coming of at least 500,000 domestic visitors and another 150,000 from abroad.

Officials said the city will welcome the tourists with "a sea of flowers" -- 50 million pots of flowers.

Furthermore, the city has set up 600 volunteer stations to serve the city's visitors during the Games.

Guangzhou has registered 1.16 million volunteers, or one of every eight Guangzhou citizens.

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: Xinhua

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