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Beijing Olympic Youth Camp opens

updated: 2008-08-07

The 2008 Beijing Olympic Youth Camp officially opened Wednesday at the venue, Beijing No. 101 Middle School, and former chairman of the International Olympic Committee Juan Antonio Samaranch attended the opening ceremony.

Around 5 p.m., Liu Qi, president of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG), declared open of the camp.

Immediately after the announcement, all campers cheered up and thousands of pigeons that symbolize peace and friendship soared into the air, pushing the ceremony to the high.

Moved by the passion of the youth, Samaranch, on behalf of the IOC president Jacques Rogge, extended the best wishes to all people present.

"I'm sure the Olympics in Beijing will be the best in the Olympic history," Samaranch said. "I'm sure everyone here will hope the success of Beijing."

The former IOC president, together with BOCOG executive president Guo Jinlong, also unveiled the sculpture "Fly the Dream" -- the OYC thematic monument.

Earlier before the ceremony, Liu visited the campers dormitory building during his tour on camp. Meeting with Italian camper Luca Wackerhann and South African camper Regardt Muller, Liu asked if they like the camp and if they get used to the life here.

"I hope you have a very good time in Beijing and watch more games." Liu said.

Muller told Xinhua he was honored to meet Liu, saying "He (Liu) is wonderful." He also said that he would like to learn more about China, especially the history. "China has a long history. I'm very interested in it. I will definitely come back and study here after the camp."

The Beijing OYC is expected to gather 483 campers from five continents world, including 10 handicapped campers as the first time invitation on the Youth Camp history. The campers will watch the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games and some competitions, tour around the city and take part in camp activities. The camp will end on Aug. 17.