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CORRECTION Race for 2022 Winter Olympics bid enters final phase in Beijing

Germany
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Beijing (dpa) - The race between China and Kazakhstan for the 2022 Winter Olympics bid has entered its final phase as the International Olympics Committee (IOC) evaluation commission Monday began a five-day inspection in Beijing.

The Beijing 2022 Bid Committee will present the commission with detailed plans for a joint bid to host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing and Zhangjiakou, a city in Beijing‘s neighbouring north-eastern Hebei Province.

The commission will also conduct a field inspection of 19 competition and non-competition venues and supporting facilities and assess transportation systems and infrastructure, according to China‘s official Xinhua news agency.

The 19-member committee concluded its inspection of Almaty, Kazakhstan, in Central Asia on February 18.

"Almaty has spectacular mountains, some very impressive venues and a real passion for winter sports," committee chair Alexander Zhukov said at a news conference following the inspection. "I can say that our visit has confirmed that Almaty is capable of holding successful games in 2022."

Beijing, for its part, has proposed holding ice hockey, skating and curling events in the city centre and holding bobsled, skeleton, luge and alpine skiing events in Yanqing, a county located north-west of the city proper.

Snowboarding, cross-country skiing, freestyle skiing and biathlon events would be held at a ski area in the mountainous Zhangjiakou city in Hebei province, bordering Beijing to the south-east, according to the plan.

The Winter Olympics sites would be linked with a new high-speed rail system, organizers said.

"We will demonstrate our desire to host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games and the benefits that Beijing as a host city will bring to the Olympic Movement, in line with the Olympic Agenda 2020 principles," Xinhua cited Wang Hui, Deputy Secretary-General of the Beijing 2022 Bid Committee, as saying on Saturday.

The IOC has recently made a series of pledges, including its "Olympic Agenda 2020" released in December that obliges host governments to sign a contract with an explicit anti-discrimination clause, and to protect human rights, labour and the environment.

China and Russia were criticized over human rights issues during the run-up to the Beijing 2008 Summer Games and Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

The IOC was also criticised at London 2012 when it turned down requests to honour the victims of the Munich 1972 massacre at the opening ceremony.

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