Page last updated at 08:28 GMT, Sunday, 17 August 2008 09:28 UK

Bird's Nest has Millennium buzz

Bird's Nest Stadium in Beijing
By the time the games has ended the Bird's Nest Stadium will have hosted the opening and closing ceremonies and the Olympic track and field events

The Welshman in charge of Beijing's Bird's Nest Stadium has said it is like the Millennium Stadium for competitors.

David Hand, originally from Burry Port, Carmarthenshire, is managing director of the company managing the stadium.

He said it was a great venue for competitors who get a "buzz" akin to appearing at the Cardiff home of Welsh rugby when they stand in the centre.

The stadium is hosting the athletic events and opening and closing ceremonies at this year's Olympics.

David Hand
David Hand, originally from Burry Port, has lived in Beijing for seven years

As managing director of Jones Lang Lasalle in Beijing and Northern China, Mr Hand has been charged with overseeing the everyday running of the iconic stadium.

Officially called the Beijing National Stadium, it has been nicknamed the Bird's Nest after its distinctive architecture and is hosting the games' track and field events

Mr Hand has been based in the Chinese capital for seven years and during that time has helped manage and work on the stadium's design with its Chinese developers.

"I've had the fortune of actually standing in the middle of the sports area in the stadium and it's an amazing feeling - a little bit akin to the Millennium Stadium, you get that real buzz about it," explained Mr Hand.


Seats 91,000 people which will be cut to 80,000 after the games

Structure is 330m (1,082 ft) long by 220m (721 ft) wide and is 69.2m (227 ft) tall

Uses 258,000sq m (2,777,112sq ft) of space and has a usable area of 204,000sq m (2,195,856 sq ft).
Was built with 36km (22.4 miles) of unwrapped steel with a combined weight of 45,000 tonnes (49,600 tons).
Took 52 months to build at a cost of 3.5 billion yuan (250m)

"I understand it's a very good stadium for competing in, so hopefully we'll see some records falling, which will be great.

"The building is very special and it's great that the name, the Bird's Nest, has been adopted around the world. It's a fantastic design.

"It is very iconic for the Chinese. The Olympics is the coming out party, as everybody uses that phrase, for China.

"The focus of that and the way it's projected throughout the world is through that image of the Bird's Nest.

"It's very important for Beijing, firstly as a city, but also for all Chinese everywhere and I think not just in China, all Chinese all over the world are very proud that China has a world-class stadium."

The Bird's Nest Stadium was completed in March 2008 and sits to the east of the Beijing National Aquatics Centre.

It holds the Olympic flame which was placed on its roof during the opening ceremony and will burn there until the end of the 2008 games.

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