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  • IOC President Checks Beijing Winter Olympic Progress


    Bach held meetings with authorities in Hebei and Sichuan provinces (IOC)
    (ATR) Thomas Bach returns from a week-long tour of China "full of confidence" in preparations for the Beijing 2022 Games.

    Accompanied by IOC vice president Yu Zaiqing and Chinese NOC head Liu Peng, Bach visited the site for Winter Olympic venues in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province. He saw how the Games are acting as a catalyst for sustainable development plans for the region.

    "We were able to see the progress already being made since Beijing won the Games a few short weeks ago," Bach said. "We visited the site for the Olympic Village and for the cross country ski venue."

    Speaking to authorities in Hebei, the IOC leader discussed next steps in the region's development for organizing the Winter Olympics. Officials told Bach they would deliver on all their promises.

    Bach also made an unplanned stop in a local village and met more than a hundred people, some of whom gave their views on the Beijing 2022 Games.

    "They seemed extremely happy with what has happened," he said of China securing the 2022 IOC showpiece event last month.

    "The region is already developing as a tourist area but with the Olympic Games they told
    Bach in Hebei province (IOC)
    me they would benefit even more. They thanked us for the IOC's confidence in them and their region to deliver the Games."

    Bach said he left Hebei province "full of confidence" in the success of the Games and in the legacy they will leave.

    Also on his China trip, Bach visited a school in Sichuan province helped by the IOC following the 2008 earthquake, which struck a few months before the 2008 Games. The earthquake killed more than 69,000 people. He played football with some of the pupils and saw the new facilities.

    The IOC cites the school as one example of the widespread Olympic Education projects it has implemented in China; ahead of the 2008 Olympics around 400 million young Chinese received education in Olympic values throughout the country.

    Bach returned to Beijing at the weekend in time to catch some action on the final day of the IAAF World Athletic Championships. He met and congratulated a group of more than a hundred volunteers who had helped out at the championships. 

    On Saturday, the IOC chief met various athletes including the successful Chinese 4 x 100m men's relay team who won an unexpected silver. 

    He presented gold medals to the Jamaican winners of the women's 4 x 100m relay who set a new world record. Later he met Jamaican sprint star Usain Bolt, who ended the championships with three gold medals. 

    Reported by Mark Bisson

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