Beijing has stepped up its preparations for the 2008 Olympics, with sports venues and other facilities getting ready for the 26 test events this year and long-awaited plans for the torch relay and ticket sales expected to be unveiled soon. Jiang Xiaoyu , vice-president of the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (Bocog), said Beijing would announce the route for the torch relay in April in accordance with an agreement with the International Olympic Committee. 'The Olympic torch relay will run from May 4 till August 8 and pass through 113 cities and regions in all 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions,' he said yesterday. Organisers were still working to finalise the overseas route for the torch relay with other countries and regions, including Taiwan. Beijing would also unveil details of ticket sales in April, he said. Bocog set prices for 7 million Olympic tickets in November, with roughly 60 per cent costing 100 yuan or less. A total of 340,000 people, including more than 250,000 from the capital, had applied to become volunteers since recruitment began in August, Mr Jiang said. He said that after a move to ease long-standing restrictions on the activities of overseas media, Beijing was preparing detailed guidelines to give specific instructions for overseas journalists either based in China or coming to cover the Olympics on how to work in the nation. Meanwhile, Wen Wen , from the Chinese Olympic Committee, has warned against optimistic forecasts that China might overtake the US on the gold medal list. She said Chinese athletes had not made much progress in many Olympic events, while players from other countries had stepped up their preparations. 'We should not overestimate ourselves. China still lags far behind sports powers such as the US and Russia.'