Beijing's Winter Olympics bid warms IOC team

Updated: 2015-03-25 06:50

By SUN XIAOCHEN(China Daily)

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Beijing's Winter Olympics bid warms IOC team

International Evaluation Commission Chairman Alexander Zhukov (right) and colleagues inspect facilities at National Stadium in Beijing on Tuesday. [Photo by Feng Yongbin/China Daily]

Beijing's bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics in line with China's regional development strategy has impressed a visiting International Olympic Committee team.

On Tuesday, the IOC Evaluation Commission began a five-day inspection tour to Beijing and Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, to inspect proposed venues and assess their ability to jointly host the winter showpiece.

The commission is chaired by Russian IOC member Alexander Zhukov.

He said the commission is impressed by Beijing's bid. "We are glad to note that you have already incorporated some of the Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms into your Games concept," he said.

"You have maximized the use of existing world-class sports venues; you have taken advantage of your experience in hosting major international events; and you have identified clear legacy goals," he said.

According to Beijing's candidacy file, which was submitted to the IOC in January, the city will "fully mobilize the legacy of the 2008 Summer Olympics" by using 11 existing venues in downtown areas for most of the ice events and will upgrade skiing resorts in Chongli county, Zhangjiakou, for snow sports if the bid is successful.

Six new venues, including an indoor speed skating rink in Beijing and a cross-country skiing center in Chongli, will be built under a venue budget totaling $1.92 billion, according to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games Bid Committee.

Vice-Premier Liu Yandong, who attended the commission's opening session, said the central government will provide full support for Beijing's bid.

As China has launched a strategy to integrate the development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province, Beijing's joint bid with Zhangjiakou will take advantage of the plan's implementation while creating a longterm legacy in return for boosting economic, social and ecological development in the region, Liu said.

Zhukov said the commission is keen to have a better understanding of how Beijing's bid aligns with the regional development plan.

"This integration will be vital for Beijing to deliver its vision for the Games and to ensure a positive impact for the people of Beijing and the region," he said.

The IOC will help with operational costs and contribute about $880 million to the 2022 host city, Zhukov added.

On Tuesday, the commission was briefed by the Beijing bid committee on five topics, including the bid's vision, legacy and sustainability.

During a tour in the afternoon, commission members inspected five venues in the capital, including the National Stadium-the proposed venue for the opening and closing ceremonies-the National Aquatics Center and the Wukesong Arena, which will host curling and women's ice hockey if the bid succeeds.

Zhang Jiandong, vice-president of the bid committee and vice-mayor of Beijing, said the commission members exchanged views with accompanying bid officials, especially on the use of venues after the Games.

On Wednesday, the commission will visit Yanqing county in northwest Beijing to inspect proposed Alpine skiing venues before touring Chongli on Thursday to look at the remaining skiing venues.