President of the Pakistan Olympic Association Syed Arif Hasan believes Beijing will build on its experience from the impressive 2008 games and host a wonderful and safe 2022 Olympic Winter Games.
ISLAMABAD, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- President of the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) Syed Arif Hasan said here that China's experience of holding the Beijing 2008 Olympics and its excellent organization capability will help make Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games an event par excellence.
In less than four months, Beijing will become the first city to host both Summer and Winter Olympics, which is "a great achievement," he said in a recent exclusive interview with Xinhua.
Hasan, who participated in the torch relay of Beijing 2008 in Pakistan and also led the Pakistani delegation to Beijing, said that the mega event was wonderfully organized by the Chinese people and the previous experience of the event gave him the confidence to say "the Winter Games will be a wonderful experience" for spectators and athletes from all around the world.
Hasan said that he "is really looking forward to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics" as he had a great experience in Beijing back in 2008.
"Beijing was giving such a festive look, especially the way Beijing utilized the great history of China, and showcased everything so beautifully...I witnessed the opening ceremony. I cannot express my feelings that how good it was. And that is why I said, we know that the organizing committee of the Winter Olympics will also have many surprises in store for us. We are really looking forward to them," he said.
Talking about the preparatory work including the test events of the Winter Olympics, he said that it is not easy to make all the preparations amid COVID-19, but the Winter Olympics is in "very safe hands and the way all the preparations are going on, everything is going on, I am sure, these will again be one of the best Games."
"I personally feel that as far as we're concerned, we've got no concerns at all, because we've seen how everything is being organized. And I don't think anyone should have any concerns...I have no qualms in saying they will be very safe, and that all necessary precautions will be taken. And of course the rest of the people participating have to contribute towards maintaining the safety standards, to do our bit," he added.
Hasan also described the Pakistani athletes' excitement about the Winter Games during the interview, saying that they are very enthusiastic and "they are asking questions about Beijing and I told them they would enjoy the stay in China because it is an opportunity which they would remember all their life."
Talking about the deep friendship between Pakistan and China, the official said that during the opening ceremony of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, "the moment our delegation marched in, it seemed as if we were walking within our own people who were cheering us and rooting for us. And it was a fantastic feeling."
Hasan hoped to further enhance cooperation between his country and China in sports, and have assistance from China in the field, including the establishment of facilities and technical support, which "will help in not just developing sports, but in youth development of Pakistan."
Hasan noted that sport has the great power to bring people together, which is what the world needs now amid COVID-19, so the attempts to politicize sports especially the Olympic Games should be avoided.
"Sports should be utilized for bringing people together which is also the new word that has been added into the Olympic motto. And that is what we should be planning on...Politicization of sports is not to take place, and I'm sure it will eventually finish off it. And I think the Winter Olympics will be a Games to be remembered," he said.
"It is going to be exciting. It is going to be fabulous. It is going to be fantastic," said Hasan, adding that the Beijing Winter Olympics will also give a "big message that we can fight all forms of epidemics or difficulties or hardships, and reach to at least try and move towards a particular direction together," contributing to developing a more harmonious atmosphere in the world.