Beijing, Jan 1 (IANS) IOC Coordination Commission chairman Juan Antonio Samaranch highlighted the progress made by Beijing 2022 in its preparatory work despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Acknowledging the difficult experience this year, the progress being made by Beijing 2022 has been truly remarkable,” said Samaranch, according to Xinhua news.
“The preparations for the Games are going extremely well despite all the challenges in the test event programs due to COVID-19-related restrictions.”
The Spaniard mentioned some important milestones over the past few months, such as the launch of a global competition for the medal, torch, and apparel designs, and the IOC broadcasters’ meeting, world press briefing, and other important conferences held via video link.
As for voluntary work, about one million people have shown their willingness and applied to be volunteers for Beijing 2022 only one year after the global recruitment effort began.
With eight competition venues completed by the end of 2020 and the plans for the ‘One Year to Go’ ceremonies well on the way, “activities are developing, excitement is really beginning to build up,” added Samaranch.
Adopting a wider perspective, Samaranch deemed Beijing 2022 will go from inspiring a whole generation of winter sports enthusiasts, to building an environmentally friendly and sustainable Games.
“Using 100 per cent clean energy for the Games venues, for example, the natural carbon dioxide as a refrigerant for the ice-making situations, first time ever in Olympic Games, are some of the steps to make this Games extremely green, the greenest.”
Samaranch also thought the Games will offer a chance to boost tourism and create more jobs for people in the region and promote Olympic education nationwide with more schools launching winter programs than ever before.
“With this, China is delivering on its bid promises despite challenges and obstacles.”
“There will be challenges ahead,” he admitted. “The COVID-19 countermeasures working group has been already very much in place. We are fully prepared for all eventualities.”
As far as Samaranch is concerned, achieving a successful Winter Games requires the experience and expertise of local organizing committee, the support of the government and the close collaboration with Olympic and Paralympic Movements and the rest of stakeholders.
“This will be vital for delivering outstanding Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing 2022,” he noted.