Beijing will be the center of the world for winter sports in 2022. Last July, in Kuala Lumpur, the International Olympic Committee voted for the Chinese capital candidacy to host the 2022 Winter Games. Beijing received just four more votes than Almaty, a city in Kazakhstan.
Beijing will become another important Asian city in the list of Asian cities that will host an international sport event in the following years: Pyeongchang for the Winter Games in 2018, Russian cities for the World Cup of 2018 (the eastern city involved will be Yekaterinburg, on the Asian side of the Urals), while the 2020 Summer Olympics will be held in Tokyo.
But China will have even more opportunities to host. In fact, the next World Basketball Championship will be held in Beijing in 2019. This means the Emperor City will once again be the center of the world stage. This was decided in Tokyo last August, when China faced off with the Philippines, both sides arguing they should be chosen as the host. Yao Ming was the ambassador for the Chinese bid, while the Philippines was represented by the famous boxer Paquiao.
These two events will be part of a long list of international events held by China in recent years. If we just consider 2015, in Beijing, China has been the host of two great events: the IAAF world championship (the Capital stadium, the famous “Bird’s Nest”, was the stage of Usain Bolt’s 100 meters victory) and the Asian basketball championships, where China won defeating the Philippines in the final.
Regarding the 2022 Winter Olympics Games, recently Beijing’s race to the nomination has been made easier by the withdrawal of the European cities. The Swiss cities of Saint Moritz and Davos decided to give up, while Stockholm, Cracoc, Lviv, and Oslo feared lower than expected economic revenues, as experienced by Sochi last year. The Russian city, thanks to the support of the Russian Government, invested 51 billion in the Olympics, a huge amount of money that never completely regained.
Thus, the final match was between Beijing and the Kazakh city of Almaty. The decision was made on July 31st by the International Olympic Committee, gathered in the Malaysian city of Kuala Lampur for the occasion. Thanks to its victory, Beijing will be the first city in history to host both the Summer and the Winter Games.
There are still many challenges faced by Beijing. Air pollution and lack of snow are but a couple. The Beijing Finance Officer promised to invest around 50 billion Yuan to reduce the amount of pollution in the air before the start of the Games. But how will the Chinese Government fight pollution in the following years? Something will be explained at a national level by the next quinquennial plan. One final question, why did the International Olympic Committee select a city 670 miles away from the headquarters of the Winter Games of 2018 for the 2022 Games?
Beijing’s second important victory came last July 7th, when it was selected as the host of the next Basketball World Cup in 2019, defeating the other candidate, the Philippines. That was only the first round between the two countries: the Chinese basketball team defeated the Philippines team once again, last October, in the Asian Basketball Championships final in Beijing.
Yao Ming, the former NBA star, was chosen as the Chinese Ambasador at the final ceremony of Tokyo, when his country was selected. A few weeks later, two other champions, Yi Jianlian and Zhou Qi, raised the Asian Basketball Games winner’s trophy in Beijing.
The 2019 edition of the Basketball World Cup will be the third to be hosted by an Asian Country. In the past, the Philippines in 1978, and Japan in 2006, had been chosen by FIBA to host the competition.
Marco Bonaglia for Vivere Liquido