Kuala Lumpur, July 31 (IANS) The delegations from Almaty and Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games held their scheduled presentation at the 128th International Olympic Committee (IOC) session here on Friday.
Almaty 2022 started its presentation with a video showing the beautiful and snowing scene of Almaty, which means “the place where the apples grow”, reports Xinhua.
“Kazakhstan is where the east meets west, the north meets south. The world came to us. You might not be familiar with Almaty, but I’m sure you are with the Silk Road,” said Kanzakhstan Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov.
Leading by Kanzakhstan Prime Minister Karim Massimov, 11 members of the Almaty delegation delivered their presentation, including Almaty city mayor Akhmetzhan Yessimov and 2014 Olympic figure skating bronze medallist Denis Ten.
“Almaty 2022 is a return to simplicity to what the Olympic Games used to be. It is based around the needs of athletes not the country. No one will endure long journeys with all our venues within a close radius,” said Almaty 2022 vice-chairman Andrey Kryukov.
“We have now provided legally binding guarantees for 31,000 rooms. This far exceeds IOC requirements. You can rest easy, knowing our accommodation plan is sustainable.”
Kryukov stressed that Almaty has winter sport experience, as they held 2011 Asian Winter Games at Medeu Skating Cluster where over 130 records broken and Almaty also would host the 2017 Summer Universiade.
Massimov concluded Almaty’s presentation by saying: “Almaty is not a risky choice for 2022. We have a golden opportunity to show smaller, advancing nations can host the Games, to give athletes the true winter experience they deserve, and will remember for the rest of their lives. A golden opportunity to make Agenda 2020 come alive.”
IOC vice president and Chinese Olympic Committtee (COC) vice president Yu Zaiqing led Beijing’s presentation.
“On behalf of our people, we ask that you take this step with China and honour us with your vote, a vote that will impact generations,” Zaiqing said.
Beijing started the presentation at 11:55 am local time with a video message by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who introduced Chinese people’s passion for Winter Games.
“The 2022 Olympic Winter Games if held in China will boost exchanges and mutual understanding between the Chinese and other civilisations of the world, encourage more than 1.3 billion Chinese to engage in winter sports with interest and passion and give them yet another opportunity to help advance the Olympic movement and promote the Olympic spirit,” said President Xi.
Yu explained in detail what the step meant to IOC and China.
“You have the choice to step forward with a partner who will not only deliver athlete-centered Games, but who will also build a foundation for ice and snow sports long into the future.
“You have the choice to step forward with a city that not only delivers a sustainable Games aligned with Agenda 2020, but that also influences a large nation and contributes to the creation of a better world.
“You have the choice to step forward with a country that not only delivers economical Games at the highest level, but that also considers legacy and delivery in equal measure, so the impact of hosting lasts many generations.”
Wang Anshun, president of Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games Bid Committee and Mayor of Beijing, spoke about the overall concept of the bidding.
“Our successful experience in hosting Games gives us even more confidence that we can achieve this,” said Wang.
Another video that introduced winter sports in China featured Yao Ming, former NBA All-Star playing as an ice hockey goalie, who was beaten by a kid.
As Beijing is seeking to become the first city to host both Summer and Winter Olympics, the legacies from the 2008 Games, including the showpiece venues “Bird’s Nest” and the “Water Cube” as well as the Games operation experiences, will help the Chinese capital honour its promise once again.
There will be 85 IOC members voting in the 2022 race. Fifteen members, about 15 percent of the IOC members, will not be voting. They are 11 “excused” members including world football chief Sepp Blatter, three Chinese — Yu Zaiqing, Li Lingwei and Yang Yang, and IOC president Thomas Bach.
While both Kazakhstan and China are vying for the first time of the hosting right for the Winter Games, Kazakhstan will be the first Central Asian country to host Olympic Games if Almaty is chosen.