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Beijing's bid to host 2022 Winter Olympics beats Kazakhstan's Almaty

31 july 2015, 21:53
1
© Dmitri Khegai
© Dmitri Khegai

Chinese Beijing has won the bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, Tengrinews reports citing Vesti.kz. It was competing against Kazakhstan's Almaty. Almaty lost by only 4 votes. 

The International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach opened the sealed envelope during the 128th session of the ICO taking place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, today. Beijing was declared the winner. 

Earlier on Friday, the two delegations - Almaty's team led by Kazakhstan's Prime Minister Karim Massimov and Beijing's team led by Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong, delivered 45 minute final presentations of their cities to the IOC, followed by a 15 minute Q&A session. 

Here are the videos of Almaty's presentation: 

A member of Almaty's delegation and the first Olympic Champion (Lillehammer, Norway, 1994) of the independent Kazakhstan Vladimir Smirnov said that the presentation went very well. According to him, the IOC members were suprised at the compact concept of the bid. "For a long time there hasn't been an Olympiad that could fit into this concept. The distances (between competition venues) were often long. It was inconvenient, because athletes need to go from a stadium to the olympic village and back. But our venues are all located within a 30 km radius. All this was received positively and with enthusiasm," he said.

Another Olympic Champion form Kazakhstan Serik Sapiyev also said that the presentation was well received.

Still, the IOC granted the right to host the major winter sports event to China's Beijing, which also hosted the 2008 Summer Olympic Games and which makes it the first city in the Olympic history to host both winter and summer sport events. 

The vote was very close: 44-40, with one abstention. 

Following the announcement, the delegation from Kazakhstan was very disappointed about the results, Serik Sapiyev said. "The entire delegation was of course very disappointed. Everyone who had voted for us were coming to us with warm words about our presentation. Many (IOC members) had voted for Kazakhstan. I don't yet know the exact count, but I am sure we weren't far from Beijing. Our team is disappointed, but we do not lose heart. We will hold not only a winter, but also a summer Olympiad some day," he said.

"We are a young country. We will celebrate only our 25th anniversary soon. The decision of the IOC is very interesting in terms of geography: Korea will host the Games in 2018 and China in 2022. Almaty is better in terms of geography and conditions, but we did not make it. The IOC made a different decision. It is all right. We have a motivation to work harder and we still have a lot of victories ahead. One may be comforted by thinking that it is not a shame to lose to a rival like China, but it would have been better if we had won," he added.

Deputy Chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee on Physical Culture, Sport and Youth Affairs Sergei Poddubny told RIA Novosti that Almaty was a better option in terms of its natural conditions. "Firstly, it would have been a huge boost for the country's development. The natural conditions for hosting the Games would have been far better. It is winter, snow and mountains. All this of course cannot be compared to what Beijing has," he said. 

As for the Russian Minister of Sports Vitaliy Mutko, he believes that the IOC delegates made a right and unbiased choice granting the right to host the 2022 Olympic Games to Beijing. "I believe it is definitely the right choice. It was an unbiased choice given the capability of our Chinese colleagues to host events of such scale. Beijing is a world sport capital. They are able to organize events of such kind and to build the infrastructure," Mutko declared. 

Around 3,000 Almaty residents watched the IOC session live at the Abay square. Many of them were also disappointed about the voting results. "Of course, we were a little bit disappointed, we all believed in our victory. Now we hope that Almaty will win next time. We still support our Olympic champions. I think that anyway we will show China, who is the real winner," one of the Almaty residents Ulmas Inamzhanov said.

"We are very worried because of what happened today. This is a shocking situation for us. We were 150 percent sure that we will host the Olympics after the Universiade. We would have everything ready for this. Our people and our entire infrastructure were ready for this and we cannot just calm down known that Beijing has won. We are of course happy for Beijing, but we hope that we will win next time," President of the Civil Alliance of Almaty Sauleta Toganbayeva said.

The head of Almaty Internal Policy Department Sanzhar Bokayev believes that Almaty is still the winner "because we have reached the final". "We have made it to the finish alongside a monster like Beijing. The entire world has learnt about us. A lot of international media outlets wrote about us. It is the matter of image of our country and our city, so I think that Almaty residents and Kazakhstanis did a great job. Today, a large number of people gathered at the square. They were supporting each other and were waiting for a good result, and a lot of sadness was in their eyes (when the results were announced), they were disappointed. But our city will be remembered for proposing not just a new concept of the Olympic Games, but a new vision," Sanzhar Bokayev said.

China will host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games on February 4-20. It is expected to spend $3.1 billion to host the Games, which is less than Almaty's estimated costs of $3.6 billion and far less than the recent actual costs of Russian Sochi Olympics - $50 billion, which earlier this year made a number of candidate cities pull out of the bid race.

China will also reuse the competition venues it constructed for the Games in 2008 for the indoor competitions, while most of the outdoor events will be held in Yanqing located 70 kilometers northwest of Beijing and Zhangjiakou, some 200 km away. To make the travel of athletes from one venue to another more convenient and compact, it will also build a high-speed railway connecting Beijing and Zhangjiakou. With the railway in place the travel time will be reduced to around 52 minutes.

Here is China's promo:

Apart from voting on the 2022 Winter Games host city, IOC members also chose Switzerland's city of Lausanne to host the 2020 Youth Games.

By Assel Satubaldina, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina


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