The Sixth Chinese City Games, the last multi-sport games to be held in China before the 2008 Olympic Games, officially opened on Thursday in this capital city of central China's Hubei Province.   WUHAN, Central China, Oct. 26 - The Sixth Chinese City Games, the last multi-sport games to be held in China before the 2008 Olympic Games, officially opened on Thursday in this capital city of central China's Hubei Province.  

Chinese State Councilor Chen Zhili declared the Games open at the Wuhan sports center stadium.  

It is the first time for a city to host the quadrennial Games inaugurated in 1988, as the past five editions were all held by provinces.  

It is also the first national sport gala held in Wuhan, the famous historical and cultural city along the Yangtze River.  

The 10-day Games will see more than 6,300 athletes from 74 delegations across the nation competing in 288 events of 24 sports. The parade will also include athletes from Hong Kong and Macao, the two special administrative regions of China.  

The City Games feature most of the sports within the Olympic Games program, including soccer, basketball, table tennis, tennis, archery, track and field, swimming, diving, judo, kayak, shooting, weightlifting and wrestling.  

Young athletes have been encouraged to take part in the competitions to gain experiences for future international competitions and even boost their chances of being selected for the Olympic Games.  

In some of the sports, youngsters will face an uphill task of competing against renowned and established athletes like Wu Peng, 200m butterfly runner-up in the world championships last March, table tennis world champions Guo Yue and Ma Long and some 220 others from national teams.  

"Many athletes from the national teams of table tennis, swimming, diving and gymnastics take the City Games as a practice run for the Beijing Olympics, since the schedule and most facilities of the City Games simulate those of the coming Olympic Games," said Guo Jianjun, deputy secretary-general of the organizing committee.  

The Chinese City Games is also a seedbed for Olympic champions. Many outstanding Olympic winners like women's table tennis player Deng Yaping, arguably the all-time great, and diving queen Fu Mingxia, winner of four Olympic gold medals, all used this quadrennial event as a platform to cut a figure and pile up experiences.  

Before the Games was officially declared open on Thursday, the competitions of volleyball, gymnastics, diving, badminton and taekwondo have already concluded.  

To ensure the Games a success, officials vowed to take all measures to fight doping cheats. "We will attach the most importance to doping control and make harsher measures than before to curb drug use," said Yuan Hong, director of the Office of Chinese Olympic Committee Anti-doping Commission.  

Before the Games, some 1,000 random tests have been conducted starting from August and more tests are expected during the Games. Besides, a campaign of promoting anti-doping knowledge among youngsters was launched in Wuhan on Wednesday with the opening of an anti-doping exhibition.  

The overall medal standings will not appear in the City Games to avoid delegations pushing young athletes too hard, said an official in the organizing committee here on Thursday.  

"The overall medal standings are quite normal in the sports games, but there is no such standings this time in the 6th City Games," said Guo Jianjun.  

Guo said that the purpose of the decision was to give the young buds easy atmosphere in the competition.  

"I hope the athletes will try their best without feeling nervous. Over 70 coaches from the national teams will come to look for potential rookies in the City Games," he added.  

Forty stadiums and other facilities have been built or refurbished for the Games which cost the lion's share of the two billion yuan (some 248.4 million US dollars) invested by the provincial and municipal governments over the last four years.