Games well on track for 2022 Bei­jing ready for an­other set of block­buster ath­letic events

China Daily (Canada) - - XI’S VISIT - By SUN XIAOCHEN sunx­i­aochen@

Like a skill­ful slalom by an Olympic skier, Bei­jing has made good progress pre­par­ing to host the 2022 Olympic and Par­a­lympic Win­ter Games, of­fi­cials said.

While it has been just 18 months since the Chi­nese cap­i­tal and co-host city Zhangji­akou, He­bei prov­ince, re­ceived the nod, full govern­men­tal sup­port and the legacy of the 2008 Sum­mer Games have helped with draft­ing ma­jor con­struc­tion plans, train­ing staff and rolling out sports pro­mo­tions.

“Prepa­ra­tion work is on the right track and will be sped up next year,” the Or­ga­niz­ing Com­mit­tee for the 2022 Bei­jing Win­ter Olympic and Par­a­lympic Games said in its an­nual re­port in De­cem­ber.

Plans call for 25 com­pe­ti­tion and non­com­pe­ti­tion venues for 2022. Among the 12pro­posedin Bei­jing, 11were built for the 2008 Games. The only new per­ma­nent venue, the Na­tional Speed Skating Oval, will be built at the site of the 2008 field hockey and archery com­pe­ti­tions.

A judges’ panel is as­sess­ing 12 de­signs for the skating venue, down­from66­sub­mit­te­din an in­ter­na­tional con­test in June. Ground will be bro­ken for the win­ning de­sign in April.

Con­struc­tion of venues will start this year and be com­pleted by 2019. Trial events will start in 2020, or­ga­niz­ers said.

“Reusing the 2008 legacy venues re­ally helps Bei­jing 2022 stay ahead, while ver­i­fy­ing Bei­jing’s prom­ise to host the Win­ter Olympics in a sus­tain­able way,” said Gui Lin, with the com­mit­tee’s depart­ment of plan­ning, con­struc- tion and sus­tain­abil­ity.

Con­struc­tion also has be­gun on a high-speed rail­way link­ing down­town Bei­jing with Yan­qing county and Zhangji­akou. Com­ple­tion is set for the end of 2019. It will shorten a three-hour car ride be­tween Bei­jing and Zhangji­akou to 50 min­utes.

The em­blem for Bei­jing 2022 will be un­veiled in the se­cond half of 2017, with the re­cruit­ment of start­ing this year.

The Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Sport, China’s top sports body, re­leased plans in Novem­ber to speed up con­struc­tion of 650 skating rinks and 800 ski re­sorts to be built by 2022 to en­cour­age 300 mil­lion peo­ple to par­tic­i­pate in win­ter sports.

Af­ter their first visit to Bei­jing in Oc­to­ber, of­fi­cials from spon­sors the co­or­di­nat­ing com­mis­sion of the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee praised the host’s sus­tain­able ap­proach, which is part of the vi­sion of the Olympic Agenda 2020 road map.

“We are pleased with what we have learned. Bei­jing 2022 is off to a fast start. Ini­tial prepa­ra­tions are well on track,” saidIOCVice-Pres­i­dent Juan An­to­nio Sa­ma­ranch, son of the for­mer IOC pres­i­dent.

“Our site vis­its con­firmed that Bei­jing 2022 re­mains fully com­mit­ted to the legacy goal of de­vel­op­ing world­class win­ter sports fa­cil­i­ties. Their suc­cess will ac­cel­er­ate grow­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion in win­ter sports among the 300 mil­lion peo­ple in this re­gion and through­out China,” he said.

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