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Bid for 2022 Winter Games gathers speed

Saturday, 15 Nov 2014 00:48   |   By Global Times

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Four venues for Beijing's 2022 Winter Games bid have already been approved by international bodies, China's winter sports chief Zhao Yinggang said Friday.

"The technical directors of six international winter sports federations have visited Beijing and Zhangjiakou since August," Zhao told a news briefing on Friday in Beijing. "They were all positive on the layout of the venues and also offered some advice."

Beijing became a candidate city in July, in a joint bid with Zhangjiakou in Hebei Province, for the 2022 Games. 

Kazakhstan's ex-capital city Almaty is the only remaining competitor for the hosting rights against Beijing after several European cities canceled their bids over concerns about costs and popular protests. 

The International Luge Federation, the World Curling Federation, the International Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation and the International Ice Hockey Federation have offered agreements to the organizing committee, which is a crucial step before the submitting of candidature files and guarantees in January next year.

Earlier this month, International Ski Federation (FIS) representatives of six Olympic disciplines - alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, freestyle skiing, Nordic combined, ski jumping and snowboarding - finished their trip to see the venues, Zhao said.

Beijing's Yanqing county and Zhangjiakou will host the skiing events, according to Beijing's venue layout plan for the 2022 Games.

Snowboarding made its Winter Olympic Games debut in 1998. FIS officials believe China will promote the sport heavily, as it appeals to young people, Zhao said. 

He promised Beijing would make some improvements based on the evaluation and advice from the FIS officials.

Hosting Olympic events is often considered costly, but Zhao regarded leaving a legacy and in-spiring people to play sports as the priority.

"We are going to reuse several stadiums that were built for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing," Zhao said. "After all, it is only a short period of hosting Olympic Games, what really matters is the promotion of the sports themselves, to promote the development of the sports industry as well as tourism." 

Recent years have seen the spread of winter sports competition in Northern China, including Changchun of Northeast China's Jilin ­Province hosting the 2007 Asian Winter Games.

More and more people in Beijing and nearby Zhangjia­kou are starting to take part in winter sports, and the number of ski resorts is increasing, although winter sports are still little known in the country as a whole.

International Biathlon Union, the only remaining international Olympic winter sports federations yet to have representatives to visit the venues, will send its directors to visit later this month.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation Commission will visit the candidate cities in March 2015 before the cities' bidding committee make a briefing to the IOC members in May, while the final decision will be made at an IOC session in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, on July 31.

Tags: 2022 Winter Olympics,Beijing

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