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1ST LEAD China, Kazakhstan make final pitches ahead of IOC 2022 vote By John Grafilo, dpa

Germany
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Kuala Lumpur (dpa) - Representatives from China and Kazakhstan on Friday made their final pitches before members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) ahead of the vote for the 2022 Winter Games.

Kazakhstan Prime Minister Karim Massimov made an impassioned appeal to the IOC members to choose the city of Almaty as the venue for the 2022 Winter Games, despite being a lesser known city compared to rival bidder Beijing.

Massimov said that although Almaty may be unknown to many IOC members that does not mean that it is a risky choice.

"In fact all big cities have some level of risks," he told IOC members in Kuala Lumpur ahead of the vote later in the day at the 128th session of the committee.

"Everything we told you today is true and importantly everything you saw today is real," he said. "There was no enhancement of our beautiful mountains in the city with our abundant real snow and winter atmosphere."

Almaty, with a population of 1.6 million, has anchored its bid on its natural beauty and abundance of snow, unlike Beijing which will need artificial snow to host the games.

But Liu Yandong, vice premier of the State Council of China, cited Beijing‘s experience in hosting the 2008 Summer Olympics as well as China‘s political and economic stability as the best reasons to be chosen to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.

"China enjoys political stability, economic prosperity and social harmony," she said in her own speech before IOC members gathered at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

"China is a responsible nation," Liu added. "We shall deliver each and every commitment we have made. We ask for your support."

Beijing is considered a heavy favourite among IOC members.

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