With the Summer Olympics postponed to open in Tokyo next week, Beijing has made moves to show its readiness for the winter games well on track for February despite uncertainty over the COVID-19 pandemic.
Journalists taken on a tour of future snow events in the remote city of Zhangjiakou this week were shown the location for ski jumping, snowboarding and Nordic events.
While China has largely eliminated the local transmission of coronavirus, it has maintained strict quarantine regulations. Organizers have not announced what rules will be in place for athletes, officials and coaches at the 2022 Winter Olympics, or whether fans will be allowed.
Jia Maoting, general manager of the company overseeing the construction of the venues, told reporters that “the pandemic situation is uncertain, we can not guess how it will develop.”
“We have strong determination to face the changing world,” Jia added. “We build good futures in any case and then we wait and expect a good result.”
China has also faced calls for a boycott of the games from foreign politicians and human rights groups on the country’s detention of more than 1 million members of the Uyghur and other Muslim ethnic groups in the northwest region of Xinjiang.
Beijing says it provides volunteer training and anti-radicalization classes and denounces the call for a boycott as a sports politicization based on false evidence.
The Chinese capital hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics and is the first city to have the right to host the Winter Games as well.
The IOC has released advice on how they will handle awarding medals at the Tokyo Olympics.
Chen Rongqin, an official with the planning department’s construction department, said work has largely been completed apart from construction on temporary facilities that cannot be built too soon.
“We still need to build some more facilities and homes in the next few months, and those are our biggest tasks right now,” Chen said.
The National Ski Jumping Center was one of the major venues for the trip, marked with an evening light show. It is nicknamed Snow Ruyi, after an ancient ski slope shaped jade ornament symbolizes good fortune. As well as its two ski jumping tracks, it has a football pitch at its base.
Zhangjiakou is about 200 kilometers (125 miles) west of Beijing in Hebei province, connected by highway and a high-speed railway line.
If you are traveling to Tokyo as a member of the media, you will be asked to sign a promise attesting that you will follow the COVID-19 protocol during a 14-day quarantine. Once you’ve arrived, there’s a sequence of member protocols in media to be followed. Among them? You can only leave your hotel for reasons that do not work for 15 minutes at a time. Need groceries? You will need to buy fast.
It is due to army ski jumping, snowboarding, freestyle skiing, cross-country skiing, and Nordic combined with biathlon competitions during the games.
Summer 2020 games were last year postponed for 12 months because of the pandemic.
There will be heavy restrictions on all participants in the games, which open July 23. With Tokyo in a state of emergency with rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in the city, there will be no fans allowed at most of the Olympic venues.