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Great Wall Authority Plans New Attractions

The Great Wall, a 5,000-kilometre miracle in human civilization, with a history dating back over 2,000 years, will soon be prepared for sporting events, as well as the usual sightseeing.

The Badaling section is in line with the city's status to host the Olympic Games.

In the coming years, visitors that come to Badaling will not only visit the area for its simple beauty, but also for its sport debuts.

"Audiences and players will come to Badaling to enjoy the beauty of sports," said Zhang Min of the information office of the Badaling Great Wall authority.

According to Zhang, tens of thousands of people have attended the annual climbing of the Great Wall contest on New Year's Day, for the last six years.

Another match is the Badaling Great Wall triathlon which embodies the Olympic spirit of peace, unity, friendship and sportsmanship. Organizers will promote both in the coming years.

Moreover, other contests such as swimming, table tennis and boat racing will also be held.

By 2008, visitors will be able to distinguish Badaling from other scenic areas, as one that holds various sports.

The other reason to hold some sports at Badaling is for the convenience of visitors.

A high-speed, magnetic levitation (maglev) train is expected to be put into business by 2003.

It will take visitors a mere three minutes to arrive at the scenic spot when travelling on the train.

The 2,200-metre maglev line will help reduce traffic and pollution.

Currently, the number of visitors to Badaling is 4 to 5 million a year. The number is expected to increase greatly by 2008.

In order to secure tourist safety and satisfaction, the Badaling section is aiming to construct a Great Wall museum containing a cultural gallery, a forest of steles, a theatre and an anti-Japanese Invasion museum.

With greater selection, tourists will be able to visit their favourite places of interest first, leaving the Great Wall less crowded during rush hours.

Since the founding of New China in 1949, Badaling has welcomed 120 million visitors, including 360 heads of countries and governments.

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