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China and Lebanon Win Right to Host Winter Asian Games
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The Chinese city of Changchum has won the right to host the 6th Winter Asian Games in 2007 while Beirut will hold the event in 2009, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) announced.

It will be the first time the Middle East has hosted an international winter sports event.

Changchum got the Games in 2007 ahead of Beirut on the agreement that the event would be held again in two years instead of the usual four, the OCA said.

Beirut's successful bid is seen as a new sign of the country's attempt to shake off the legacy of its conflict-stricken past and rebuild its tourist industry. In 2000 it hosted the Asian Cup football tournament.

The solution was reached after the only other bidding city for 2007, Tehran, pulled out of the race.

OCA secretary general Abdul Muttaleb Ahmad said earlier this year that Lebanon planned to use a mix of existing ski facilities and to build new skating facilities.

Lebanon has some skiing in the Souf mountains but is not established as an international venue.

Aomori in Japan plays host to the 5th Winter Games in February next year. The 43-member OCA held their General Assembly in the South Korean port city of Busan where the 14th Asian Games run until October 14.

The OCA will hold its next meeting in Kuwait in January.

(China Daily October 4, 2002)

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