SPORT

Beijing makes final three on shortlist for Winter Olympics in 2022

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 July, 2014, 3:15am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 July, 2014, 9:37am

Beijing is one of three cities still in the troubled race to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Almaty in Kazakhstan and Oslo in Norway also made the list of finalists, as had been expected after the withdrawal of Stockholm in Sweden, Krakow in Poland and Lviv in Ukraine.

Lviv dropped out a week ago amid the continuing turmoil in the country. Krakow pulled out in May after voters rejected the bid by a 70 per cent margin.

And Stockholm withdrew in January after politicians refused financial backing for the city's bid for the winter games.

The International Olympic Committee approved the three remaining contenders as official candidate cities, rather than cut the field any further.

The cities must submit their detailed bid files to the IOC by January. The host city will then be selected by the full IOC membership in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on July 31 next year.

But the final decision may be a two-horse race with Oslo's bid still uncertain. The Norwegian government has yet to back the project and will not make a decision until the autumn. Polls have shown that more than half the population opposes the bid.

Officials from the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Bid committee said they would host the games economically.

"We will try our best to take advantage of the stadiums built for the 2008 Beijing Olympics," China Olympic Committee deputy secretary general Zhao Shuan said.

He added that the only approved new work for the winter Olympics was a speed skating stadium, to be built west of the Beijing Olympic Park, and a downhill race track in Yanqing county in Beijing's northwest.

Beijing - bidding to become the first city to host both the summer and winter Olympics - plans to hold the alpine events in the satellite city of Zhangjiakou , 190km away.

Beijing has said a successful bid would aid development in that part of Hebei province.

In a bid to dismiss fears the region around Zhangjiakou was too polluted to host the Olympics, the city's mayor said: "Zhangjiakou is a city where you can take a deep breath."