IOC President Bach: China is ready to welcome the world's best winter sport athletes2021-02-07 | CGTN
To mark one year to go until the opening of the Beijing Winter Olympics, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach sent a congratulatory letter to China Media Group (CMG) President Shen Haixiong on Thursday, extending his best wishes to all CMG employees and stating that China is ready to welcome the best winter sport athletes across the world despite the challenges of COVID-19.
"As we count down to the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 this summer and look ahead to the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 one year from now, I would like to thank you very much for your ongoing support of and commitment to the Olympic Movement," Bach said in the letter before detailing preparation efforts for the Tokyo Games this summer amid the concerns of the ongoing pandemic.
"It is worth noting the positive news that international sports events have restarted in 25 Olympic summer sports," Bach wrote in the letter, adding that over 60 percent of the Tokyo 2020 athlete qualification places have been allocated.
"We are holding the Olympics and Paralympics this summer. I am determined to achieve the games as a proof of human victory against the pandemic, a symbol of global solidarity and to give hope and encourage around the world," he said.
"With the unity of purpose, from the National Olympic Committees (NOCs), the International Federations and from the athletes, we have at his stage no reason whatsoever to doubt that the opening ceremony (of Tokyo Olympics) will take place on July 23, 2021 and that the Paralympic Games will open a month later, on August 24, 2021. The question is not 'whether' but 'how' these Olympic Games will take place," Bach said.
Bach also revealed that Chinese President Xi Jinping has expressed his confidence that China would host a successful Winter Olympics in a recent phone call. "We also agreed on the essential importance of respecting the Olympic Games and the Olympic Movement as to be beyond any political dispute," Bach wrote.
Bach also noted that the strong international support for the Games has boosted the confidence of the IOC, which has spared no effort in preparing for the back-to-back Olympics in 14 months.
He pointed out that the United Nations General Assembly has recently unanimously adopted a resolution that explicitly "welcome with appreciation" all the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games, while the G20 leaders also declared their support for the Tokyo and Beijing Games at the 2020 Summit.
"We are always stronger together," he added.