Beijing selected to host 2022 Winter Olympics

Beijing selected to host 2022 Winter Olympics
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Published July 31st, 2015 - 22:15 GMT via

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IOC president Thomas Bach shows the card with the name Beijing as the winning name of the 2022 Winter Olympic bid city
IOC president Thomas Bach shows the card with the name Beijing as the winning name of the 2022 Winter Olympic bid city

Beijing has beaten Kazakhstan's Almaty to be named host of the 2022 Winter Olympics, with only four votes separating the two bidders, the International Olympic Committee announced Friday.

The Chinese capital was supposedly a heavy favourite going into the ballot, mainly because many of the 85 voting members of the IOC have experience working with China during the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, but the results did not bear this out.

The IOC said Beijing received 44 votes against 40 for Almaty, with one abstention.

IOC president Thomas Bach described the choice of China to host the 2022 Winter Games as both "safe and historic."

"With the great experience of China in delivering great sports events I think it is really a safe choice," he said. "We know that China will deliver on its promises."

"Historic (because) Beijing will be the first city to organize Summer Games and Winter Games," he added.

Wang Anshun, the mayor of Beijing and president of the 2022 bid, vowed to work closely with the IOC to ensure a vibrant Games.

"We must now work to deliver on each and every one of our commitments to make the 2022 Olympic Winter Games a huge success," he told a press conference.

"This is the first time in Olympic history that a city will host both a summer and a winter edition of the Olympic Games, in 120 years of Olympic history. This is unprecedented."

Chinese basketball star Yao Ming, who was among the Chinese athletes campaigning for Beijing's bid, said a lot of hard work still awaits them as they prepare for 2022.

"We will have a long journey to go," he told reporters outside the hall at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, where the announcement was made.

The IOC chose Beijing despite the fact that the skiing events, to be held 200 kilometres from the city, would rely heavily on artificial snow.

Chinese officials said they have abundant water supplies and more than enough snow-making equipment to provide the best conditions for the Winter Games.

Pundits said human rights concerns in Kazakhstan would affect Almaty's chances but that a strong winter sports tradition would help the city win votes.

Kazakhstan congratulated China but vowed to fight another day.

"I am convinced that we will win sometime - if not today, then tomorrow," said Kazakh Foreign Ministry spokesman Roman Vasilenko.

Austria, the world's most successful Olympic Alpine skiing nation, lamented Almaty's defeat, partly because of the large travelling distance between Beijing and the slopes.

"Taking into account Alpine and Nordic skiing criteria, there was a lot that would have spoken in favour of Almaty, especially considering that nearly all sports facilities already exist there," Austrian Olympic Committee president Karl Stoss said.

Only two bidders made it to the ballot after several cities, including Munich and Oslo, pulled out in recent years because of a lack of public support and cost worries.

Voting on the day was held up because electronic tablets did not work and IOC delegates had to revert to using pen and paper.

In the contest for the hosting of the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics, Lausanne edged out the Romanian city of Brasov. The Swiss city, the home of the IOC, picked up 71 votes with Brasov gaining 10.

© 2015 dpa GmbH

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