Kazakhstan capable of hosting Winter Games: IOC chief inspector
Almaty, Feb 19 (IANS) The head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) evaluation commission wrapped up its five-day visit to assess Almaty's 2022 Olympic bid on a positive note for the Kazak city.
Speaking at a news conference before the close of their five-day inspection tour, Russian IOC member Alexander Zhukov Wednesday said: "Our visit has confirmed that Almaty is capable of holding successful Games in 2022."
"It has been a very productive and informative visit," Zhukov was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
During the past five days, the 14-member IOC evaluation commission visited Almaty's proposed venues and met with bid and government leaders.
"The Almaty 2022 bid committee was well prepared and provided excellent presentations, explanations and clarifications. It was exactly the kind of open, honest dialogue envisioned by Agenda 2020," said Zhukov.
"Almaty has spectacular mountains, some very impressive venues, and a real passion for winter sport."
Zhukov refused to make comparisons between the Almaty and Beijing bids.
"The evaluation commission is strictly neutral in conducting its assessment. We don't respond to any speculation about the two cities," he said.
"It is wrong to suggest at this stage of bidding that any of the cities has more advantages."
Zhukov also revealed that Almaty 2022 had proposed moving downhill and Super G from Shymbulak ski resort to the Tau Park, combining them with Slalom events, in a bid to reduce costs in line with the recent reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020.
"The Almaty bid committee took full advantage of the flexibility offered by Agenda 2020 to optimise bid proposals," he said.
"They advanced goals of sustainability, legacy and cost containment without comprising on the core requirements for the Olympic Games."
The IOC evaluation commission will visit Beijing March 24-28 before a final decision is scheduled to be made at the IOC session in Kuala Lumpur July 31.