Fearing the effects of a sizzling summer, Beijing organisers persuade the Olympics committee to push back its dates Beijing's 2008 Olympics will be postponed by two weeks because organisers are concerned that the city's stiflingly hot summer will affect the performance of athletes and spectators' enjoyment. The revised dates are seen as a compromise, as the local organising committee had been pushing for a three-week postponement. The Games were originally scheduled to be held from July 25 to August 10, but the International Organising Committee (IOC) announced in Prague on Sunday that it had taken the request into consideration and had decided to hold the event from August 8 to 24. Temperatures in the capital in July can exceed 40 degrees Celsius, with humidity occasionally passing the 90 per cent mark. 'We are delighted to hear the decision of the IOC,' said Zhang Haifeng, a spokesman for the local organising committee. 'Pushing back the commencement date will help the athletes perform better and so help ensure the Beijing Olympics are successful.' But speaking from Prague, Wang Wei, vice-president of the Beijing organising committee, said that it would have been better if the Games had been put back three weeks to start on August 15. The local organising committee said it had not yet decided if they would ask the IOC to reconsider their decision and postpone the Games for an additional week. Beijing officials had said during the bidding process that the provisional dates were not ideal and the IOC had said that they could be reconsidered. Zhou Qingliang, from the Central Meteorological Observatory, said it was a good move to postpone the opening of the Games. 'Beijing is hottest in late June to early July, and then it has the rainy season from late July to early August. The heat and the high humidity would greatly affect the performance of the athletes,' Mr Zhou said. But he, too, said it would have been even better had the Games been put back another week. 'By mid-August the humidity is much lower and it is so much more pleasant in Beijing.' The local organising committee said it had not heard of any conflicts in terms of timing and had not received complaints from any country over the revised dates. Meanwhile, the IOC said that two mainland firms might be invited to join the 'top 10' sponsorship partners for the Olympics, according to state media. 'We've already signed sponsorship deals with eight firms, and currently we are in talks with several mainland firms interested in a top partner sponsorship,' said Gerhard Heiberg, chairman of the IOC's marketing committee. The eight companies that have already signed key sponsorship deals are Kodak, Coca-Cola, John Hancock Financial Services, Panasonic, Samsung, Visa, Swatch and SchlumbergerSema. A top sponsorship deal with the IOC is usually valid for four years, covering one summer Games and one winter Games, and typically costs the firm US$50 million to US$60 million.