Guangzhou prepare for 'grandest ever' Asiad
Organisers of the Guangzhou Asian Games yesterday declared with aplomb that the 2010 showpiece games would be the the largest and the grandest.
Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) director-general Husain Ali al-Musallam said the games would 'set a new standard in Asia'.
Organisers are estimating 14,000 athletes and officials from the 45 OCA countries will take part in 42 competition sports, at 62 venues.
During the first Asian Games in 1951, 11 countries participated in six sports.
Of the sports making their debuts, cricket commanded the most attention at yesterday's media briefing by the Guangzhou Asian Games Organising Committee, piquing interest in both the game's presence on the mainland, and what format it would be played.
'We are in negotiations,' Al-Musallam said. 'The programme should be ready in 2009.'
Preparations for the games were under way, including plans to improve urban infrastructure which included a 200km subway system, said Gu Shiyang, the vice-secretary general of the Guangzhou municipal government.