People who don't want to miss the opening or closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympic Games should place their ticket orders by June 30, a ticketing official said yesterday.
The sales period for the first batch of tickets to be made available - about two million tickets for the domestic market - will close next Saturday. As of Wednesday, some 360,000 bookings had been made and 2.2 million tickets ordered through the official ticketing website, Bank of China branches and post offices.
"The tickets for the opening and closing ceremonies will only be available during this first phase," said Rong Jun, director of the ticketing department of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG).
"The two events have already been overbooked, but every booking made by next Saturday will have an equal opportunity to get a ticket through a lottery."
Rong said officials from BOCOG, the government and the public will witness the lottery to make sure it is fair.
"We will make sure it is fair and transparent, and media professionals are also welcome," he said.
As expected, most of the bookings were for sports that are popular in China, such as soccer, basketball, volleyball, table tennis, badminton, swimming, diving and gymnastics.
"But we were a little surprised to see that some comparatively unpopular sports, like the triathlon, mountain biking and sailing, have attracted many people," the director said.
Rong said the coming days would see a flood of bookings, as some 640,000 who have registered on the website are still waiting to apply for tickets.
"Generally speaking, we are satisfied with the sales figures from this first period. After all, Chinese people are not very used to purchasing tickets so far in advance of an event," he said.
Ticketing officials also hope the trial events to be held this year will help boost the local interest.
Starting on July 1, 26 trial events, including equestrian, canoeing, BMX, baseball, archery and sailing, will be held in Beijing and other co-host cities.
Meanwhile, the director also said overseas sales were proceeding smoothly.
BOCOG has signed contracts with some 130 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to promote worldwide ticket sales.
"The number of tickets for overseas sports fans will surpass that sold for the Athens Games because our venues have larger capacities," Rong said.
"The tickets will be allocated to the NOCs according to their bookings."
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