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From Len - at the Asian Games in China

posted 21 Nov 2010, 21:53 by Monash Running   [ updated 21 Nov 2010, 21:57 ]
Great first night of aths here. 70,000+ and some good events. women's steeple was worst of five finals, but still pretty good and featured two changes of lead off last hurdle. Can't get much more exciting than that.
Now, to monash running group:
Hi everyone from Guangzhou, where I am at the Asian Games.
Or, to put it in the style of the Asian Games News Service for which I work, at the 16th Asian Games Guangzhou2010.
And, no, there is no space between 'Guangzhou' and '2010', and if you put one in, someone yells at you via e-mail or sms!
In many ways, working here is like the monash running Group. Lots of different kinds of people work at these sort of events. Old, retired blokes like me (and TV), professional media doing some 'hobby' work and thousands of volunteers.
Our volunteers at athletics are all university students aged 20-21 and all studying languages. They are so keen and enthusiastic it is incredible. Where Aussie kids that age would shrug their shoulders and say, 'whatever', these guys just jump in and do it. They get here on a shuttle bus or the metro, which is either a 2-hour or 3-hour trip. Not much time for sleep, but hey, they're young.
The other amazing feature is 'nap time' when, for an hour or more after lunch, everybody just puts their hands on a table or desk, lays down their head, and goes to sleep. Like clockwork, they all wake up an hour or so later.
Tonight is the second night of athletics. There were 70,000 at the first night and it was a great atmosphere.
Liu Xiang runs his heat of the 110 metres hurdles tonight. It's 1:30pm now and there are already several hundred people in the stadium, four hours early, just waiting.
I hope Liu is not as nervous as the expected 80,000 spectators in the stadium and the 1.3 billion around the nation.
See you all on 7 December.