BEIJING: The International Olympic Committee said on Tuesday (Sep 18) it was “extremely confident” in Beijing’s preparations for the 2022 Winter Olympics, praising a three-fold increase in the number of skiers in China in the past two years.
Beijing will become the only city in the world to host both the summer and winter Games in just under four years’ time.
“We are very comfortable and extremely confident in the work that is being done” by organisers, IOC vice-president Juan Antonio Samaranch Junior told a press conference in Beijing.
Several facilities used in the 2008 Summer Olympics will be venues at the winter Games for events including skating and ice hockey.
“Construction and planning for additional venues is also moving strongly,” said Samaranch.
Beijing aims to boost the number of Chinese taking part in winter sports to 300 million – or 22 per cent of the population – by 2022.
Ski resorts have multiplied in the country since Beijing’s bid won in 2015, with major promotional campaigns helping to attract particularly young and middle class Chinese fans.
The development of winter sports in China is “becoming a reality rapidly”, Samaranch said.
“Not even waiting for 2022. The number of practitioners of winter sports in this part of the world has grown three-fold in the last two years, counting by the number of visitors to the ski resorts in the vicinity.”