Published: 16:25, January 28, 2022 | Updated: 16:25, January 28, 2022
Winter Olympics offer chance for world to stand together
By Yang Han in Hong Kong

With the Winter Olympic Games less than 10 days away, people across Asia, including government officials, business leaders and independent observers, are expressing their support to Beijing and offering their best wishes for successful conduct of the Games. 

“It is a very meaningful thing to hold the Olympic Games, of which the goal is to pursue harmony,” said Woo Su-keun, president of the Korea-China Global Association in Seoul, who has been promoting the Beijing Games to South Korean people through various events since last year.  

Woo told China Daily that it is necessary for the international community, which is heading toward division and confrontation, to unite at the upcoming Games in Beijing to find a way for reconciliation and concord against the backdrop of the Olympic spirit.

South Korea is sending 63 athletes — who will compete in six sports — and 61 officials to Beijing, with the athletic contingent led by Yoon Hong-geun, president of the Korea Skating Union, and the government delegation led by Hwang Hee, minister of culture, sports and tourism

On Jan 25, South Korea officially flagged off its delegation for the Beijing Games, Yonhap News Agency reported. The country is sending 63 athletes — who will compete in six sports — and 61 officials to Beijing, with the athletic contingent led by Yoon Hong-geun, president of the Korea Skating Union, and the government delegation led by Hwang Hee, minister of culture, sports and tourism. 

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The Winter Olympics, which will run from Feb 4-20, will be spread across three locations, namely Beijing, Yanqing and Zhangjiakou. Around 3,000 athletes will compete in 109 medal events across 15 disciplines in seven winter sports. 

In Asia, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia are among the countries that have voiced their support for the Beijing Winter Olympics. 

“I am very sure that Beijing is the place all athletes want to go to and achieve their dream,” Norza Zakaria, president of the Olympic Council of Malaysia, said at a news conference on Jan 19. 

Referring to the Games’ official motto “Together for a Shared Future”, Norza said the motto shows the core value and vision of Olympic sports and the goal of pursuing unity, peace and development. He said he fully believes that Beijing is ready to present the world a successful Winter Olympics.

Malaysia competed at the Winter Olympics for the first time in 2018 in Pyeongchang and will be represented by two alpine skiers at the upcoming Games in Beijing. 

“Every member country of the Olympics family, including Thailand, are very confident of this Winter Olympics under the close supervision of Chinese President Xi Jinping,” said Korn Dabbaransi, president of the Thai-Chinese Friendship Association and a former Thai deputy prime minister.

Though Thailand is a country with no snow or ice lakes, Korn said the tropical country still sends athletes to participate in the Winter Olympics for the sake of the Olympic spirit. 

This year marks the 20th anniversary since Thailand first participated in the Winter Olympic Games in 2002. Four Thai athletes have qualified to compete in Alpine skiing and cross-country skiing races at the upcoming Games in Beijing.  

Valeriano Floro, chef de mission of the Philippine delegation for Beijing Winter Olympics, lauded and thanked China for its “courage and generosity” in hosting the “momentous event” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Philippines will be represented in the Beijing Games by alpine skier Asa Miller, who will participate in the men’s slalom and the giant slalom events. 

"We may only have one athlete this time, but an already huge win here is how Miller is inspiring others also to achieve his level of Olympianism," Floro said, according to Xinhua News Agency. "We're very happy that we are part of the Olympics in Beijing and we are confident that many more Olympians are coming soon."

Also from the tropics, Vietnam will make its Winter Olympics debut in Beijing with a team of six bobsleigh athletes. 

“One of the most important things to me is that Vietnam eventually qualified to compete at the Winter Olympics. It is such a good thing and I am very happy with that,” team leader Nguyen Dan An was quoted as saying by Viet Nam News. 

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Le Thi Thu Hang, a spokeswoman for Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry, said on Jan 21 that Vietnam is willing to join other countries to make contributions to the success of the Beijing Winter Olympics. 

Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni will attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics, joining leaders from many other countries including Russia, Pakistan and Argentina. 

As the host of the previous Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang in 2018, South Korea has said that it will not join the United States and a few other countries in a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Games, noting the country seeks to promote a free and open Pacific region and a harmonious relationship with China. 

As today’s world has become increasingly divided with conflict, Woo from the Korea-China Global Association said it is important for South Korea to support Beijing and make the upcoming sports event “the most awesome, most glorious, and most successful” Olympic Games.

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