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Bach says Beijing 2022 can benefit from Tokyo postponement

(Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach has hailed the progress of preparations for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, and said the event might benefit from the move of the Tokyo Summer Games to next year.

He told the Xinhua news agency: “The preparations in Beijing continue to go very well.

“We will have very soon in the month of June the next Coordination Commission meeting, together with all international winter sports federations. The reports are very good coming from Beijing both from the infrastructure side as well as on the operational side.”

Bach said running the Tokyo and Beijing Olympics so close to each other could mean a raised profile for the events. Tokyo is to take place July 23 to August 8 next year. Beijing is to take place February 4 to February 20, 2022.

The IOC president continued: “We will also have to see and consider what advantages it may even offer to the organisation of Beijing being so close to the Olympic Games in Tokyo, because this will keep and even raise the awareness of the world for the Olympic Games at a very high level.

“This applies to everybody, to the organisation, to sponsors and partners, to the rights-holding broadcasters, to many others. There is also an opportunity in this closeness.”

On Friday, Beijing 2022 organisers unveiled their sustainability plan. It had already been announced that all venues at the Games will be completely powered by electricity from renewable sources – a first for the Olympics. In another important measure, carbon dioxide will replace environmentally harmful Freon gas in the systems used to create ice at skating venues.

The plan breaks the sustainability issue into three themes – “positive environmental impact”, “new development for the region” and “better life for the people” – 12 actions and 119 measures. These address issues including air pollution, water conservation, carbon neutrality, post-event venue operation, and the improvement of the livelihoods of local residents.

The Chinese government is using the Olympics to drive massive growth in the country’s winter sports and leisure sector, in which it ultimately hopes to have 300 million people participating.

The Games preparations have included the completion of a high-speed railway between Beijing and Zhangjiakou, the completion of a road expressway between Beijing and Chongli, and the creation of the ‘Beijing-Zhangjiakou Sports Culture Tourism Belt’.