Romanian Olympic official lauds China for green, sustainable Winter Games

This Aerial photo taken on May 11, 2019 shows the performance during the 1,000-day countdown celebrations of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Chongli of Zhangjiakou City, north China's Hebei Province. (Xinhua/Xing Guangli)

The Romanian Olympic chief praised China's efforts to reuse facilities from the 2008 Summer Games for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

BUCHAREST, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- China has made great efforts in order to hold a green Winter Olympics in 2022 amid a global COVID-19 pandemic, said Mihai Covaliu, president of the Romanian Olympic and Sports Committee (COSR) in a recent interview with Xinhua.

"All our gratitude goes towards China for its massive efforts to organize the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games under the testing circumstances of the global pandemic, and to bring together people and restore faith in the return to normal life after the pandemic," said Covaliu, a former Olympic saber fencer who represented Romania at four Games between 1996 and 2008, winning gold at Sydney 2000 and a bronze at Beijing 2008.

"The exceptional feature of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics is China's efforts to re-build the competition venues and the sports facilities from the 2008 Summer Olympics to turn them into high-standard, green, sustainable facilities for the winter event," said Covaliu, who noted the "water-to-ice conversion" of the 2008 Olympic swimming pool to the Winter Olympic curling field.

Students from Beijing No.2 Middle School experience curling at the National Aquatics Center (the "Water Cube"), which was converted to the "Ice Cube", in Beijing, capital of China, on Dec. 21, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Chenlin)

"China's purpose was to protect the environment and to provide the sportspeople with a cleaner environment to compete in, which will obviously ensure safer conditions due to the reduced carbon emissions," he said, adding that "after the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, they will remain an outstanding asset and a legacy for winter sportspeople to use it."

Regarding the arrangements for Romanian athletes and the country's Olympic goals, Covaliu told Xinhua that the Romanian delegation will include between 25 to 30 athletes in skating, bobsleigh, biathlon, ski jumping, Alpine skiing, luge and skeleton.

"The biggest chances for Romania to win medals are in bobsleigh, both men and women. We are hoping to rank between 1st and 6th. We are confident about winning at least one medal," he said, which would represent Romania's first Winter Olympic medal.

Discussing the pandemic prevention measures for this Olympics, Covaliu believed that pandemic safety regulations will be properly put in place during the 2022 event and "all participating sportspeople have clear rules from the International Olympic Committee."

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