China was officially confirmed as a stopover host for the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 18/4/07

Today 18 April, China was officially confirmed as a stopover host for the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09, and they will be entering a team into the event.

It is yet to be chosen which Chinese coastal cities will act as host, but many will vie for the right to be selected for the race stopover in February 2009.

Glenn Bourke, CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race made the announcement and was joined by representatives of the China Water Sports Administration Centre (CWSA), China Yachting Association (CYA).

The Volvo Ocean Race and the CYA have also entered into a co-operation agreement to promote sailing in China. The deal will include a Chinese entry in the race.

Bourke said: “We are grateful for China’s support in providing us with an opportunity to bring the world’s premier ocean race to this region. China is a strong sports country with long coastline and millions of sports fans. We believe the race will heighten the interest and participation in sailing in China and Asia.”

Mr. Wei Di, the director of CWSA, said he was delighted that the race would be coming to China. “It is a professional international sailing event, and the arrival of the Volvo Ocean Race will accelerate the development of water sports in China.”

The fleet will arrive in China at the time of the local spring festival in 2009. The stopover will include an in-port race. A number of events are planned for the three-week duration of the stopover.

The 2008-09 event will be the 10th running of this iconic ocean marathon. Starting from Alicante in Spain, it will for the first time, take in ports in Asia. Spanning some 39,000 nautical miles, stopping at around 11 ports and taking nine months to complete, the Volvo Ocean Race is the world’s premier yacht race for professional racing crews.