IOC President Thomas Bach was in Beijing to meet Chinese State leader President Xi Jinping following a week looking at the progress made towards the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.
The two leaders met in the Great Hall of the People after President Bach had spent the morning touring the National Winter Sports Training Centre in the Shougang district, accompanied by the President of the Chinese NOC, Ghou Zhongwen. President Xi discussed the progress of the preparations for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 with President Bach, and the development of sport in the country. President Xi said: “The Olympic Winter Games are part of our vision of encouraging 300 million Chinese to experience winter sports. Through sport we will improve the health and well-being of all Chinese people.” President Xi also mentioned the organisers’ sustainable approach to the Games. “Ecological improvements and environmental protection are part of China's plan,” he said. “We want to have green Games. And we are also remodelling some of the venues from 2008,” he said. He also made a strong stand against doping and corruption. “We have a clear and very strong policy on doping. I myself hate it,” he said. “I would prefer to have clean Chinese athletes than a gold medal, or any medal at all.”
President Bach thanked President Xi for his continuing support. He told him: “This week we have seen children, parents and athletes, all very enthusiastic about getting involved in winter sports. It demonstrates your vision becoming reality – that sport can contribute to the social development of China and in particular education.”
During the meeting, President Xi also paid tribute to President Bach for the IOC’s long-term support of China’s sporting development, as well as its contribution to world peace.
The previous evening, President Bach was welcomed to Beijing by the President of the Beijing 2022 Organising Committee, Cai Qi, who hosted a dinner in the impressive newly opened administrative centre for Beijing 2022, telling President Bach that he was the first international guest at the complex.
Earlier in the week, President Bach visited the mountain venues for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 in Zhangjiakou. After seeing the site for the planned national biathlon and cross-country ski centres and the ski jump, he met young skiers and snowboarders at the half pipe venue in the Genting Snow Park, which will also host parallel giant slalom, ski and snowboard cross and slopestyle competitions.
Throughout the trip, President Bach was accompanied by IOC Vice-President Zaiqing Yu; IOC members in China Li Lingwei and athletes' representative Hong Zhang; and Timothy Tsun Ting Fok, IOC Honorary member from Hong Kong, China. IOC Vice-President and Coordination Commission Chair for Beijing 2022 Juan Antonio Samaranch was also present at the venue tours and in Beijing.
At the site of the downhill skiing in Yanqing, President Bach was able to see the progress made in recent months. The venue will play host to a World Cup event next year. “The progress is very impressive. For every venue we have visited here, we could see what the use for it would be after the Olympic Games, so that the Chinese people can then really enjoy winter sports,” said President Bach.
Throughout the visit, the organisers demonstrated the great work being done on environmental sustainability, with some 320 million trees being planted during the preparations. There was also a visit to a site where trees which had been moved for construction work were being temporarily housed before transplantation.
Earlier in the visit, the President was in Harbin, where he visited skating facilities along with IOC Athletes’ Commission member and gold medallist Hong Zhang, who trained at the oval for many years.
Welcomed by the local Party Secretary and Governor of Heilongjiang Province, he also visited ice and snow facilities in the city, including an indoor ski facility. There he met many children and young people who were being introduced to winter sports through a range of programmes.
Mamadou D. Ndiaye (centre of photo), who is also President of the Senegalese NOC, was voted “Sports Personality of the Year 2018’” alongside Sports Minister Matar Ba, by sports website “Sport221.com”. This is the second year in a row for him, in recognition of his contribution to Senegalese sport.
other olympic news
The IOC has received the 7th Riudor Prize for promoting values in sport, and in particular for the joint participation of the two Koreas at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. The Riudor Prize is promoted by the Football School of Sant Fruitós de Bages, located in the centre of Catalonia (Spain). The Prize honours athletes and organisations that play a leading role in ensuring the values of sport, beyond the competition itself and its results. Accepting the Prize on behalf of the IOC, Deputy Director General Pere Miró praised the work done by the School which, like the IOC, sees sport as “a tool for learning and disseminating values”. Full news release here.
INTERPOL and the IOC conducted a joint workshop in Qatar to help develop a coordinated national approach on the integrity of sport. The two-day workshop (21 and 22 January) brought together more than 100 representatives from Qatari law enforcement, government, sports bodies and the Olympic Movement. International experts from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Council of Europe, FIFA and the Athletics Integrity Unit reviewed and highlighted existing legislation, international instruments and best practices to protect the major sports events from competition manipulation and other breaches of sport integrity. INTERPOL and the IOC recently extended their joint training programme through to 2021. More details here.
The various Social Media Handles of the IOC, including the Olympic Channel, were top performers in 2018, according to a report by the Burson Cohn & Wolfe sports practice (BCW). The BCW report examined 42 Olympic Winter and Summer sports governing bodies present and engaging on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. BCW reports that the IOC “tops the rankings on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram”. More details here.
Following the steps taken by the IOC to unite the two Koreas through sport, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has put together an action plan with the aim of achieving the participation of a unified Korean hockey team for future FIH events, potentially for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and their qualification process. As part of this engagement, FIH President Narinder Dhruv Batra, FIH Executive Board member Tayyab Ikram, FIH CEO Thierry Weil and delegates from the Hockey Associations of the DPR Korea and the Republic of Korea met during the FIH Congress in New Delhi (India) in November 2018. On this occasion, a number of concrete proposals such as joint training camps or exchange programmes were made. Then, in the middle of January, a fruitful meeting was held between Tayyab Ikram and the relevant stakeholders, where future steps to reach the goal of playing together as one team were discussed. More details here.
Guatemala’s Erick Gordillo is the latest swimmer chosen by the International Swimming Federation (FINA) to join its scholarship programme, which is aimed at supporting talented athletes from around the globe. Gordillo, who competes in the 200m and 400m individual medley, will be training in the next 12 months at the Spire Institute Academy in Ohio (USA). At 19, Gordillo is already selected for the 2019 Pan-American Games, but will actively train with the aim of qualifying for his first Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. More details on www.fina.org.
Since the inception of World Rugby’s plan, Accelerating the Global Development of Women in Rugby 2017-2025, important advances have been made both on and off the field in year one of implementation. With 9.6 million players recorded globally, latest player figures show total female players account for 2.7 million in World Rugby member unions, a 10 per cent increase when compared with 2017. The implementation of the transformational governance reform saw the introduction of an additional 17 female positions aimed at increasing the diversity of the World Rugby Council. Ten global leadership development scholarships, which aim to maximise the rugby leadership potential of talented women working in the game, were allocated. More details here.
The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) has released new and expanded rules for WBSC Baseball5™, the urban, five-on-five variation of the global sport of baseball and softball. In addition, following Baseball5’s growth since its official launch in March 2018, the WBSC Executive Board has tasked its Baseball Department with developing a comprehensive international competition structure, World Cups, world rankings and a pool of certified continental instructors. More details here.
NationaL OlympiC COMMITTEes
Footballer Ryad Mahrez and karateka Lamya Matoub received the first prizes in the 4th edition of the Algerian Olympic and sports awards, a national distinction of the Algerian NOC. Organised in Algiers on 26 January, the ceremony was attended by many personalities, including the Minister for Youth and Sports, Mohamed Hattah; the Communications Minister, Djamel Kaouane; the Wali [governor] of Algiers, Abdelkader Zoukh; and NOC President Mustafa Berraf. Several other awards were presented to the athletes who excelled in 2018. More details here.
The US embassy in Bahrain has announced its support for the 2019 Bahrain Sports Day, scheduled for 12 February. Organised for the third consecutive year by the Bahrain NOC in cooperation with the Education Ministry, the Sports Day aims to promote a healthy lifestyle. During a meeting with the NOC’s Sports Affairs Executive Director, Abduljalil Asad, project manager Lounes Madene and sports associations supervision head Fadi Humaidan, US embassy media and culture officer Karin Ehlert, accompanied by staff member Najem Swar, announced that the embassy would set up a private booth offering an American football workshop at the event venue in Isa Town. More details on www.boc.bh.
25 January in Bogotá saw the start of the sixth edition of the Olympic Solidarity advanced sports management course (GOLD) for Colombia. At the opening ceremony, Colombian NOC member Armando Farfán Peña welcomed the 54 participants. These had been selected from more than a hundred candidates from national sports federations, sports leagues and sports institutes in Bogotá, Meta, Atlántico, Cundinamarca, Córdoba and Cauca. More details here.
On 8 and 9 March this year, the Medical and Scientific Commission of the Spanish NOC will be organising the 15th Congress on Medicine and High-level Sport. The Congress themes will include the latest medical advances in regenerative therapies (general aspects of cell therapy), musculotendinous injuries, sports cardiology and elite sports medicine. More details on www.coe.es.
The British NOC has announced that Team GB announced a six-year partnership with the University of Hull, which will incorporate both the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024 and the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. At the heart of the partnership will be the ability to benefit from shared information, joint research and enterprise projects delivered by the University in support of Team GB. The partnership will also cover opportunities for the University of Hull’s students, staff and communities, including participating in Team GB events, developing courses, guest speakers and CV-boosting opportunities such as work experience and volunteering. More details here.
The Guatemalan NOC and the Autonomous Sports Confederation of Guatemala have honoured the team who took part in the 3rd Summer Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in 2018. The nine young athletes, who each received a participant’s diploma, their six coaches and the Young Ambassador were invited by the county’s highest sports authorities to a ceremony held at the Sports Palace. More details here.
organising committees for the Olympic games
On 28 January, the Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 (Tokyo 2020) unveiled the names that have been selected for the teams of Tokyo 2020 volunteers and staff who will provide support during the Games. Games Volunteers will be known as the “Field Cast” and City Volunteers will be named the “City Cast”. Four pairs of names were proposed, and the names were determined by a ballot of volunteer applicants which took place between 12 December 2018 and 20 January 2019. More details on www.tokyo2020.org. In addition, for the test events for the Olympic and Paralympic Games taking place between June 2019 and May 2020, the Organising Committee has chosen a catchy slogan: “Ready, Steady, Tokyo!” This aims to express the excitement that is building in the run-up to the Games. The overall message of the slogan is “We are ready for Tokyo 2020. Let’s stay focused as we move forward to successful Games.” More details here.
The Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 is committed to its mission of hosting “green, inclusive, open and clean” Olympic Winter Games. The Organising Committee’s initiatives include sustainable management of venues, low carbon programmes and sustainable sourcing. As part of their green initiative, the organisers have given top priority to ecological preservation, conserving resources and environmental friendliness. More details here. In addition, the Beijing 2022 anti-doping lab, one of the legacies from the Olympic Games Beijing 2008, has become one of the best-performing laboratories, as seen in WADA’s annual report. More details here.
Organising Committee for the Youth Olympic Games
Triple freestyle ski world champion, Olympian and President of the Lausanne 2020 Organising Committee Virginie Faivre shared a passion for skiing with 300 school children from the Lausanne area. Just a stone’s throw from Lausanne in the ski area of Les Paccots, Virginie and the Lausanne 2020 team joined forces with “Sports-passion”, a project spearheaded by the City of Lausanne to provide sports activities to all children in the area, for an afternoon of sports initiation. Full news release here.