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Olympics chief sure of Beijing's success

By Yu Yilei in Lausanne, Switzerland | China Daily | Updated: 2017-01-20 08:20

Olympics chief sure of Beijing's success

Thomas Bach, IOC president.

Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, said he is certain that China will be able to host successful Winter Games in 2022 after President Xi Jinping visited the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Wednesday.

"Before his visit, we were confident. Now we are assured," Bach told China Daily in an interview right after Xi's visit.

The German lawyer and former Olympic fencer said he was impressed with Xi's strong and clear commitment to organizing sustainable, green and clean Winter Games.

"This reflects our Olympic Agenda 2020. That's why we are working together closely with the anti-corruption efforts, and with his clear government policies," Bach said.

He said they hope to use the Games as a catalyst to the long-term development of China's northern regions.

"It is really impressive to hear how he sees the Olympic Winter Games as a part of the Chinese Dream. It's a great pleasure for the IOC to make our contribution to making the Chinese Dream a reality."

As for air quality concerns in light of severe and continuous smog that has enveloped Beijing and its neighboring cities recently, Bach said he has seen the step by step implementation of plans and projects to reduce pollution.

"The topic of air pollution is on the agenda in every meeting between the IOC coordination commission and Beijing Olympic organizers. Measures are undertaken. This is why we believe that by 2022, China will once again achieve its goal."

Bach praised Xi as an authentic sports fan who acknowledges the importance of athletics in society.

Hosting the Olympics, he said, "is a golden opportunity to have sports as a part of the national development plan, and have sports as a part of the Chinese Dream".

Bach said he has no doubt that Chinese athletes will once again put on a strong performance at the Olympics at home, just as they did in 2008.

Compared with their achievements at Summer Games, China remains a newcomer at Winter Games, capturing its first Winter Olympics gold at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.

"We've already seen Chinese athletes coming up in all (winter sports) disciplines. The Chinese Olympic Committee has issued invitations to many high-profile foreign coaches. We know about their determination."

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