Fear of rain on Beijing’s big parade

SJA chairman BARRY NEWCOMBE has arrived in Beijing ahead of the Olympics, which get underway on Friday. Based with the BOA at the Main Press Center, Newcombe will be working to assist the British press corps, but he will also be filing a daily diary: here’s the first of his regular Beijing Blogs

They have been talking about the need for blue sky days in Beijing as the countdown to the Olympic Games gathers pace and today there was one. Nice timing, too, with more than 150 people from Britain connected with Games activity stepping off the morning British Airways arrival from London.

The clear sky continued until early afternoon – and then the smog returned, throwing a giant canopy over the city.

Apparently the big fear is that rain will affect Friday’s Opening Ceremony party, which is being rehearsed daily as the big moment approaches. But Beijing says its fireworks are so up to date in design that they would not be affected by rain.

Another prominent suggestion around the Olympic city is that some of the grass has been helped in its colouring with a touch of paint, Dulux Hollybush perhaps, to make sure it looks good on television.

Whatever happens Beijing gives a massive impression that is ready. At this early stage, I have never known such a a relaxed Press corps. The reason is that everything works. Press village accommodation is more than adequate and is properly presented, from the baby Panda on your pillow onwards

There are rumblings of problems to come, though. Giselle Davies, IOC director of communications, said that live broadcasts from Tiananmen Square would be allowed, but would have to be in “certain time periods”.

On full internet access, Davies said that sites had been opening up which haven’t been available before in China and that the IOC had been encouraging the authorities to continue to move in the direction of giving the widest access possible.

SJA MEMBERS: Make sure your profile details are up to date in the 2009 SJA Yearbook by clicking here