Olympic officials offer praise for Beijing's preparedness

Add Time:2022-01-15 Hits:18

With just three weeks to go before the Beijing Winter Olympics open on Feb 4, the International Olympic Committee believes the host city is in impeccable condition to present safe and well-organized Games.

Successful test events have been held, and the lessons learned there incorporated into Games planning to ensure excellent conditions for athletes to perform at the highest level, IOC's Olympic Games executive director Christophe Dubi said.

"We are into the fine, very fine details I would say. We have had an excellent campaign of test events, we've learned a lot. Modifications, slight modifications, have been made to the operational plans. The venues are ready. They look fantastic. They have now received the look of the Games and frankly it's impeccable," Dubi said during a recent video interview after arriving in Beijing last week to help assess the final preparations.

The IOC has held a series of consultation calls with athlete representatives from around the world, the National Olympic Committees and the International Olympic Winter Sports Federations since the arrival of a contingent led by Dubi.

Citing the anticipation of athletes on coming to Beijing, Dubi reckons the whole world is looking forward to the opening of the Beijing Games on Feb 4.

"The feeling was one of excitement. Everybody mentioned they can't wait to be here in Beijing and for the Games to open on the 4th," he said.

"Everybody understands as well what we repeated, that is to live by the Playbook rules from now until they arrive into the closed loop which will be very, very safe. But there is a lot of excitement. Obviously the Games for all of us, and for the athletes in particular, is the main objective within the four-year cycle. So they are prepared. The athletes yesterday evening, this was the last call, were incredibly supportive but also very excited to be here with us."

Among the very first group of international participants, who have undergone the vigilant COVID-19 protocols developed for the Games at Beijing Capital International Airport and entered the closed loop, Dubi describes the entry procedure and pandemic control measure as "seamless" experiences.

"The arrival into Beijing and the closed-loop was a seamless operation. Very, very good training for all the staff," he said.

"The only thing we couldn't see were the smiles behind the masks. But for the rest, really it was impeccable. It took us between 35 to 40 minutes from the moment we came down from the plane, onto the bus, straight into the hotel.

"So honestly it's incredible what they have done. This experience I'm certain will be the same for everybody coming after us. So we were the guinea pigs, but I would say they were already very, very well-trained."

During calls between IOC officials and stakeholders, IOC medical and scientific director Dr Richard Budgett emphasized athletes and Games participants with an essential role can continue participating at the Olympic Games, even if they are defined as a close contact to a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.

A special regime for close contacts is in place for such cases, including testing twice a day and special arrangements for travel and dining. For example, conditions are in place to ensure quality of meals, and athletes will also be able to draw on mental health support at all times.

The stakeholders connected on all three consultation calls voiced their full support for the Beijing Games and the measures in place to ensure the safety of all involved.

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