IOC 'very happy' with Beijing prep for 2022 Winter Olympics
BEIJING (AP) The International Olympic Committee is ''very happy'' with Beijing's preparations for the 2022 Winter Games, amid assurances Tuesday that the main venues will be completed three years before the events are held.
Beijing is drawing largely on its success staging the 2008 Summer Olympics, including reusing much of the original infrastructure. Organizers say the main venues and supporting facilities will be in place by the end of 2019.
The chairman of the IOC coordinating committee, Alexander Zhukov, said he has full confidence in Beijing's ability to successfully hold the games.
The IOC is ''very happy with progress made by Beijing 2022,'' Zhukov said Tuesday at a news conference following a second round of visits to facilities and organizers' offices.
''This visit has given me full confidence that this mission will be realized and I look forward to being back for our next visit next year,'' Zhukov said.
Beijing is the first city to have been awarded both the Summer and Winter Olympics. The main skiing and sliding events will be held far from the city because of a lack of snow, although organizers say a high-speed rail line now under construction will keep travel times to a minimum.
Cai Qi, Beijing's top official and the newly-appointed president of the organizing committee, said Chinese President Xi Jinping fully supports the organizing work.
''We will complete the construction of the main venues and infrastructural facilities by the end of 2019,'' Cai said.
During the visit, the coordination commission visited four sites in Beijing; the new National Speed Skating Oval; the Capital Indoor Stadium; the Wukesong Sports Center that hosted the 2008 men's basketball events, and the Shougang Industry Park where the organizing committee is located.
On a visit last year, Zhukov praised Beijing for getting ''off to a fast start'' in preparing for the games.
In 2015, Beijing was awarded the games ahead of Almaty, Kazakhstan.