New phase of Olympic preparations kicks off
The next three years will be spent sorting out the more intricate aspects of the Beijing Olympics, such as competition timetables and a system to tabulate results.
Construction on all of the infrastructure projects for the 2008 event, such as the showpiece national athletics stadium and the aquatic centre, have already or will have begun by the end of the year.
On Friday, the executive vice-president of BOCOG, the organizing committee for the Games, was quoted by Xinhua as saying it was now time to start organizing the actual competitions themselves.
"A competition organization mode will be established, together with an effective working mechanism," Liu Jingmin said during a conference in Beijing, which was attended by national sporting officials.
He also said highly qualified people with a wealth of management experience would be selected to meet the needs of the event.
Liu vowed to enforce the requirements and working standards set out by the International Olympic Committee and individual international sporting organizations to create a regulated and just competition environment.
As it would be the nation's first Olympic Games, the official said: "We face difficulties, but the organizing committee is confident the event will be well run."
Other key areas that need to be looked at in the next few years include the creation of the opening and closing ceremonies, mascot selection and arranging volunteers.
Liu also announced that the venues for the baseball, softball and hockey had been decided upon.
The organizers are still negotiating with relevant international sporting organizations to determine the facilities for tennis and beach volleyball.
The executive vice-president of BOCOG vowed to complete all preparation work on time so the 2008 event is of the highest standard.
In a related development, Liu Peng, the newly-named director of the Chinese State General Administration of Sport, was appointed president of Chinese Olympic Committee (COC) on Friday, replaying Yuan Weimin.
Yuan, who stepped down from the post due to his age, was named the honorary president.
Liu, born in 1951, was the secretary of Secretariat of Communist Youth League of China Central Committee from 1993, and became deputy secretary of the Communist Party in Sichuan Province in 2003.
He replaced Yuan to head the sports administration in December.
After the handover, the new president pointed out a series of short-term tasks that COC was facing.
"In 2005, we have to get well prepared for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, the 2007 Changchun Asian Winter Games and the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, as well as hold the 10th National Games, all of which will challenge us," said Liu, who is also BOCOG executive president.
"With the Olympic Games coming to Beijing, the COC is confronting two responsibilities - closely co-operating with BOCOG to ensure a successful Games and achieving overall improvement in China's sporting scene to better our results in 2008."
Besides competitive sports, Liu expressed his concern for the popularization of sports among ordinary people in China.
"The COC should make more efforts to organize the Olympic Games as well to promote the co-ordinated growth of both competitive sports and sports for mass participation," he said.
"We will work for an all-round and sustainable development of sports in China."