President Xi Jinping and IOC President Thomas Bach look at the badminton racket of former world champion Li Lingwei (right) at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne on Wednesday. Li is now vice-president of the Chinese Olympic Committee. [Photo by Yao Dawei/Xinhua]
While meeting with Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, at the committee’s headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Beijing will host a green, open-minded and corruption-free Olympic event in a shared manner.
Gearing up for the 2022 Winter Games shows China‘s support and proactive participation in the sporting event, the president said. Preparatory work will be a major task for China in the next few years, he added.
Beijing, the host city for the 2008 Olympics, and neighboring city Zhangjia-kou, Hebei province, won the right in 2015 to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. Beijing will be the first city to hold Summer and Winter Games.
The organizing committee for the 2022 Games, which was set up in December 2015, has assembled a team of more than 170 staff members across nine departments and two operational centers.
According to its work plan, the preparation work will speed up this year.
Venue construction will start and the organizing committee will kick off overseas recruitment for foreign experts.
“The lack of talent in winter venue operation and technical support has been a challenge. We will work closely with international winter sports federations, equipment providers and foreign venue operators to train our own staff,” said Tong Lixin, director of the sports department of the organizing committee.
China will seize the opportunity of the Winter Olympics to promote sports and improve health among the general public, Xi said, adding that hosting such an event will also push forward the Belt and Road Initiative, which he proposed in 2013.
As highlighted in Beijing‘s bidding plan, the country is rolling out a national campaign to encourage 300 million people to participate in winter sports by 2022.
The call has inspired greater investment in the winter recreation sector, which has seen 108 ski resorts built since Beijing won the bidding to be host for the Winter Games.
In winter 2015, the number of people who participated in winter sports increased by 30 percent year-on-year in Beijing and Zhangjiakou, reaching 6.8 million.
The country aims to build 650 skating rinks and 800 ski resorts by 2022, laying the foundation for the winter sports industry to generate 1 trillion yuan ($146 billion) by 2025 in gross revenue, including spending at venues, equipment production and training fees.
IOC President Bach welcomed Xi’s visit, saying the committee will work together with Beijing to ensure an excellent Winter Olympics.
Xi and first lady Peng Liyuan also visited the Olympic Museum after meeting with Bach.