SOCHI, Feb. 7 -- Beijing's bid for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games will help promote sports development in the world's most populous country and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) appreciates China's support to the Olympic movement, said IOC president Thomas Bach here on Friday.
"We appreciate very much this bid from China for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games," said the Olympic chief at a press conference, just a few hours before the opening ceremony starts in Fisht Olympic Stadium Friday evening.
Three months ago, the Chinese Olympic Committee announced that capital city Beijing was picked to bid for the 2022 Games with the northern city of Zhangjiakou as a co-host.
"It is a concept that could motivate millions of people in the region of Beijing and beyond to practise winter sports and there would be excellent facilities," said Bach at the briefing.
"Secondly, we also appreciate very much quite a few initiatives being taken by the Chinese government, with regard to the role of sport in education, with regard to sport to promote social values, and their initiatives, particularly in the new cities in China, to think also from the very beginning of planning sports infrastructure, to give not only the kids but everybody the opportunity to practise sport in their neighborhood.
"This shows that sport plays an important role in the social development plan of the Chinese government," added the German, who attended his first IOC session as president.
After the Swedish capital Stockholm pulled out of the bid, there are five candidate cities to host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, namely Almaty (Kazakhstan), Krakow (Poland), Lviv (Ukraine), Oslo (Norway) and Beijing.