Sports, globally, may have been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and several events cancelled, but China remains upbeat and are confident of hosting a successful Paralympic Winter Games in 2022.
As Beijing 2022 marked 500 days to go until the Winter Paralympic Games on Tuesday (20 October), Zhang Jiandong, Executive Vice President of the Beijing 2022 Organising Committee (BOCOG) assured full commitment from him and his team to ensure a safe and memorable Games, on the first day of the four-day virtual world press briefing.
“We have full confidence in our preparations for the Games despite the challenges due to coronavirus and we are confident of provide comprehensive, efficient and convenient services for everyone including the media.
"I look forward to your continued support and co-operation so that we can do a better job of Games preparation. Let us work together to deliver a successful Games in 2022 for the world," said Zhang.
“The construction of venues and infrastructure is on schedule and all venues will be completed by end of this year. Beijing remains ready to work with major organisations for the best way forward for coverage and for COVID-19 control during the Games," Zhang added.
The online briefing covered 15 functional areas and will include venue construction, media operations, sports, registration, accommodation and technology, among others.
Over 400 representatives from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), National Paralympic Committees (NPCs), International Federations (IFs) and world media are attending the conference online.
The 2022 Paralympic Winter Games will take place from 4-13 March 2022. Competitions are due to be staged in downtown Beijing, the capital's northwest Yanqing District and Zhangjiakou in Hebei Province.
Lucia Montanarella, the IOC Media Operations chief, said that in the coming months a safe plan of hosting the Tokyo 2020 Games will be ‘rolled out’ and Beijing can take cue from it.
“Everything is taking shape; it is just a matter of being a little bit patient. We will inform everyone how we will be able to deliver (Tokyo 2020) in a few months. Beijing 2022 will have the privilege to watch and see how to the Games in Tokyo will go; in regards to preparations, in regards to excellence, capacity of the venue,” Montanarella said.
Beijing 2022 will be using eight existing sites and two temporary venues including the Bird's Nest, that hosted 2008 Games. The host city has so far completed two of the new permanent venues - ice sports training centre, dubbed the ‘Ice Jar’ and the National Speed Skating Oval, known as the ‘Ice Ribbon’.
In September, China unveiled their ‘Winter Olympic and Paralympic Ice and Snow’ themed aircraft at Beijing Capital International Airport as it took off to complete its maiden flight to Chengdu.
The organising committee also launched a global competition for the official 2022 medal, torch and apparel designs and shortlisted 10 out of 193 proposals. Beijing 2022 has attracted 34 sponsors and suppliers in total so far - 10 partners, 10 sponsors and 14 suppliers.
Sales of Beijing 2022 licensed products have been picking up and over 870,000 people from China and overseas have applied to volunteer during the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) I'mPOSSIBLE toolkit, are being distributed to over 1,800 schools across the country.