IOC heaps praise on early operations

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The National Ski Jumping Center in Zhangjiakou City, locally known as the "Snow Ruyi", will host the ski jumping and Nordic combined events during the Beijing Winter Games. YANG SHIYAO/XINHUA

Beijing 2022 venues, villages and services are already earning positive reviews as Games participants begin to arrive.

Pierre Ducrey, the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) operations director for the Games, on Wednesday told a remote technical briefing on Beijing 2022 that his impression has been "extremely positive" since arriving in the Chinese capital a week ago.

"We can confirm the impression that we had from the test event, which is that the field of play and the venues are outstanding, so we are going to have fantastic sports here in Beijing," Ducrey said. "The athlete villages also look fantastic, as planned.

"I think everybody here on the ground is very impressed with what we see. Be it from the quality of the venues that I mentioned before, quality of the services, and the quality of the welcome as well. We have a lot of people here, who are very welcoming, very keen to work with us," he added.

Ducrey also gave a resounding thumbs-up for the closed-loop management system, which he described as "very safe" with "a good number of" COVID-19 countermeasures from the Playbook already in place.

He noted that pre-departure and arrival COVID-19 tests will help block cases from entering the loop, and participants will need to conduct daily testing and wear high-standard masks.

"I am very impressed by the establishment of the pre-Games loop, which really allows the stakeholders to fulfill their work plan," he said.

Ducrey confirmed that 41 percent of the athletes have qualified for the Olympic Winter Games, with the remainder of the qualification events completed by Jan 16.

The Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games will be held from Feb 4-20.

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