Zhang Jiandong, vice-chairman of Beijing 2022, said organisers now have a "better and more accurate understanding of the needs of the Games" ©Getty Images

Beijing 2022 bid vice-chairman Zhang Jiandong claimed organisers have a "better and more accurate understanding" about hosting the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games following the conclusion of an International Olympic Committee (IOC) Orientation Seminar in China’s capital.

The event aimed to help Beijing get off to the strongest possible start on its journey to staging the Games and was attended by more than 350 people expected to be involved in organising them.

Led by the IOC Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi, the IOC delegation walked the organisers through the Olympic Games life cycle during the two-days of meetings, with a particular emphasis on the opportunities presented to Beijing by hosting the Games.

The Orientation Seminar was the first of its kind since the adoption of Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC’s strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement that was unanimously approved at the IOC Session last December.

It drew heavily on the 40 recommendations of Agenda 2020, including sustainability and legacy as top priorities for the Games project.

"The Orientation Seminar was compact but packed full of information," said Zhang, the Vice-Mayor of Beijing and considered one of several candidates in the frame to be named head of the Organising Committee when it is unveiled next month.

"We had in-depth discussions and exchanged views on all major issues in connection with the preparation of Beijing 2022.

"Thanks to all the experts from the IOC, we now have a better and more accurate understanding of the needs of the Games.

"We hope that the IOC and all the experts will continue to give us professional advice and support over the next seven years.

"Let's join hands to make Beijing 2022 a great success."

More than 350 people attended the two-day Orientation Seminar in Beijing
More than 350 people involved in organising the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games attended the two-day Orientation Seminar in Beijing ©Beijing 2022

In a video message to the participants, IOC President Thomas Bach encouraged Beijing to continue working together with them in the spirit of Agenda 2020, focusing especially on sustainability, feasibility and environmental protection.

"There is a saying in China that 'a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,'" he said.

"This meeting is the first step on our seven-year journey together to deliver brilliant Olympic Winter Games in 2022 for Beijing, for China, and for the world."

Continuing the relationship fostered during the Candidate City phase, the IOC and local organisers intend to work together to determine how the Olympics and Paralympics can best fit into Beijing’s long-term strategy and vision for the city and region, it is claimed.

With that in mind, knowledge and the experiences of previous hosts was shared in areas such as venues and infrastructure, stakeholders, Games services, brand and engagement, governance and commercial aspects.

A potential move of sliding sport and Alpine skiing venues from Yanqing to the main mountain cluster further north in Zhangjiakou can be expected to have been discussed following a visit from International Federation representatives last month.

"The Orientation Seminar is about transferring knowledge from past editions of the Games to the local organisers so they can build on all the successes while tailoring the Olympic Winter Games 2022 to their own unique situation in Beijing," said Dubi.

"More than ever before, we are working together with the host cities to determine what their strengths are and how to make the Games benefit the Olympic Movement and as much of the local population as possible long after the 16 days of competition."

A number of presentations were made to the Beijing delegation, which included Liu Peng, Minister of China’s General Administration of Sport, as well as Wang Anshun, the Mayor of Beijing and chairman of Beijing 2022, and Zhang Qingwei, the Governor of Hebei Province near Beijing.

The IOC delegation also met with Guo Jinlong, secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Beijing Municipal Committee, who spoke about his hopes for the successful staging of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

Beijing was elected host of the 2022 Olympics and Paralympics at the 128th IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur in July, beating rivals Almaty, and will become the first city to host both a Summer and Winter Games.

As outlined in the candidature process, the local organisers aim to use the Games to accelerate the development of a new sport, culture and tourism area in northern China that will attract 300 million people to winter sports, as well as to create a better quality environment for the local population.

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