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Visiting SCO delegates praise preparations for 2022 Games

Sun Xiaochen
Updated: May 01,2021 09:12 AM    China Daily

Beijing's smooth preparations for the 2022 Winter Olympics have impressed members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization with diplomats pinning high hopes on the Games' role of promoting mutual respect.

With 10 months to go before the Winter Olympics open in Beijing, representatives from SCO member nations, observer states and dialogue partners, led by the organization's secretary-general Vladimir Norov, concluded a visit to northwest Beijing's Yanqing district, one of three Games zones, on April 30. The delegates said they already envisioned a successful sporting event that will help bridge cultures and unite people.

During the two-day visit, officials and diplomats learned the latest on Beijing's preparations for the Games and greeted young athletes at a short-track speedskating training facility before witnessing the launch of a marathon race initiated by SCO at the foot of the Great Wall.

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, China's efforts to provide a safe and stable environment for hosting the Winter Olympics on time was impressive, Norov said.

"All preparations have been made at a high level and everyone is now sure that these Games will be organized successfully," the veteran diplomat from Uzbekistan said after the trip to the Great Wall.

"China is the first country in the world to take control of the pandemic and is reviving its economy. Now it's playing the role of the locomotive for reviving the world economy … that's why it is successfully creating the conditions to host these Olympic Games."

Featuring steep mountain slopes and natural snow, Yanqing will host Alpine skiing, bobsled, luge and skeleton competitions for the 2022 Winter Olympics. All skating events will be staged in Beijing's downtown area. The rest of the snow sports will be held at the Games' co-host city, Zhangjiakou, Hebei province.

Citing the principles agreed by SOC members and the values of the Olympic movement, Norov called on all international communities to support the Chinese organizers in their staging of the Winter Olympics as a platform for promoting mutual understanding.

"The spirit highlighted in the Olympic slogan coincides with the Shanghai spirit, which is about promoting mutual trust, equality and respect for different cultures," he said. "The Winter Olympic Games in 2022 will give some impetus to the revival following the pandemic's influence, and all international communities should support China's organization of this event."

After learning of China's progress to involve 300 million people in winter sports by next year, some SCO member and observer states, such as Belarus, expressed interest in further cooperation with China in the sector.

Yuri Senko, Belarusian ambassador to China, left Yanqing convinced that all participants at Beijing 2022 will have a great experience.

"China prepares for the Olympics in modern ways, with modern facilities, modern venues and modern ski runs," Senko said. "I believe the 2022 Games will be successful, not only for the athletes, but also for the spectators."

As part of the sports exchange between the two countries, retired Belarusian athlete Darya Domracheva, a four-time Winter Olympics gold medalist, joined the Chinese national team in 2019 to coach the women's squad for next year's Games.

Senko expects more of his country's athletes to achieve their best results at Beijing 2022.

The SCO, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, also announced on April 30 that three marathons will be held in three of its member nations - Kyrgyzstan on May 15, Tajikistan on June 13 and China on Dec 5.