IOC: Bei­jing makes ‘fast start’ in pre­par­ing for 2022 Games

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

The In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee praised Chi­nese or­gan­is­ers yes­ter­day for get­ting “off to a fast start” in Bei­jing’s prepa­ra­tions for the 2022 Win­ter Games.

The IOC’s co­or­di­na­tion com­mis­sion con­cluded a three-day in­spec­tion that in­cluded vis­its to the snow sports venues out­side the cap­i­tal.

It was the panel’s first full visit to Bei­jing since the city was awarded the games last year, de­feat­ing Al­maty, Kaza­khstan, in the IOC vote. Bei­jing, which hosted the 2008 Olympics, will be the first city to host both a sum­mer and win­ter games.

The panel vis­ited the snow sports venues in Zhangji­akou and Yan­qing, as well as the in­door ice are­nas in Bei­jing. China plans to build a high-speed rail line link­ing the city to the moun­tain clus­ters.

Sa­ma­ranch stepped in for com­mis­sion chair­man Alexan­der Zhukov of Rus­sia, who re­turned to Moscow this week for meet­ings with Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin.

Putin said Zhukov will be step­ping down as head of the Rus­sian Olympic Com­mit­tee to con­cen­trate on his work in par­lia­ment. Once Zhukov leaves that post, he would re­lin­quish his spot on the IOC and chair­man­ship of the Bei­jing panel.

Sa­ma­ranch said if Zhukov’s de­par­ture is con­firmed, IOC Pres­i­dent Thomas Bach “will make the right de­ci­sions and an im­me­di­ate de­ci­sion” to ap­point a new head of the co­or­di­na­tion com­mis­sion.

Christophe Dubi, the IOC’s ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of the Olympic Games, said no de­ci­sion has been made on a pos­si­ble re­lo­ca­tion of the pro­posed slid­ing cen­ter in Yan­qing for bob­sled, luge and skele­ton. Bei­jing, not known for win­ter sports, could rely heav­ily on man-made snow for the ski and snow­board events.

Sa­ma­ranch said vis­its to the moun­tain venues showed that China “re­mains fully com­mit­ted to the legacy goal of de­vel­op­ing world-class win­ter sports fa­cil­i­ties” in a re­gion of 300 mil­lion peo­ple.

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