Beijing: the 2022 Winter Olympics on track despite the pandemic

ZHANGJIAKOU, China (AP) – With the postponed Summer Olympics expected to open in Tokyo next week, Beijing has taken steps to show that its preparations for the Winter Games are on track for February despite the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reporters who visited the snow event venues in the outer city of Zhangjiakou this week saw the ski jumping, snowboarding and Nordic skiing event locations.

While China has largely eliminated local transmission of the coronavirus, it has maintained strict quarantine rules. Organizers have not announced what rules will be in place for athletes, officials and coaches at the 2022 Winter Olympics, or whether fans will be allowed.

Jia Maoting, general manager of the company overseeing the construction of the sites, told reporters that “the pandemic situation is uncertain, we cannot guess how it will develop.”

“We have a strong determination to face the changing world,” Jia added. “We have built good sites anyway, and then we wait and expect a good result.”

China has also faced calls to boycott the games from foreign politicians and human rights groups following the country’s detention of more than one million Uyghur members and other Muslim ethnic groups in the northwestern region of Xinjiang.

Beijing says it offered voluntary vocational training and anti-radicalization courses and denounced boycott calls as politicization of sport based on false evidence.

The Chinese capital hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics and is the first city to also have the right to host the Winter Games.

Chen Rongqin, an official from the planning committee’s construction department, said the work was largely completed, except for the construction of temporary facilities that cannot be built too early.

“We still have to build more facilities and houses in the next few months, and that’s our main job now,” Chen said.

The National Ski Jumping Center was one of the main sites of the tour, highlighted by an evening light show. It was nicknamed Snow Ruyi, after an ancient jade ornament in the shape of a ski slope symbolizing good fortune. In addition to its two ski jumping tracks, it has a football field at its base.

Zhangjiakou is about 200 kilometers (125 miles) west of Beijing in Hebei Province, connected by a highway and a high-speed rail line.

It is to host ski jumping, snowboarding, freestyle skiing, cross-country skiing, Nordic combined and biathlon competitions during the Games.

The 2020 Summer Games were postponed last year by 12 months due to the pandemic.

There will be heavy restrictions for all participants in the Games, which will open on July 23. And with Tokyo in a state of emergency and the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the city, there will be no fans allowed during most of the Olympics. places.


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