Ayaka Oba (left) and Mai Sasaki of Japan celebrate winning a point during the women's soft tennis team final. Officials expressed concern about the number of empty seats at some venues and asked locals to return their free tickets if they are not going to use them. (Agencies)
In an effort to fill the empty seats, Guangzhou Games organizers appealed to local citizens on Monday to return the free tickets they have received if they are not interested in using them.
The Olympic Council of Asian (OCA) President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah said he was concerned at seeing so many empty seats in the early days of the games, but all the tickets had already been distributed.
The Guangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee (GAGOC) dished out half of all the tickets to residents and corporate sponsors but many have not yet showed up, said Yuan Yue, director of GAGOC's ticketing office.
"One big problem is that people don't know what sport or match the free tickets entitle them to see until after the draws are made," she said. "They may decide not to go because they aren't interested in that particular event."
Li Zhiqing was among the million Guangzhou residents who received a complimentary ticket. He said he was disappointed to learn it was for a soccer match between the Republic of Korea and Jordan.
"I don't like soccer. I prefer badminton or table tennis," said Li, who decided not to go. He said tight security checks were also annoying.
Yuan urged people to hand over unwanted tickets to relatives and friends. She said corporate sponsors had already returned some, and those were being put on sale immediately.
Meanwhile, venue directors have been told they have the right to sell extra tickets on site if the stadium does not fill up. They will determine the number and price of the tickets on a match-by-match basis.
Sheikh Ahmad said he has been discussing the issue with local organizers and looking for solutions. He also announced on Monday an extra 400,000 tickets were being released, with a dozen new ticket booths to be opened citywide.
"We will try our best to get more people into the stadiums," said Yuan.
（中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑）