Interview: President Xi an important partner of Olympic Movement, says IOC vice president

HANGZHOU, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping is an important partner for global Olympic Movement, International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice president Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr. said here on Monday.

Samaranch Jr. made the remarks during an exclusive interview with Xinhua in Hangzhou on the sidelines of the 19th Asian Games.

"His commitment, his support to sport and the role that sports and Olympics can play for the youth, for the entire society, I think, is what I would take as most important," said Samaranch Jr..

"It's great to have such an important partner for sports and international Olympic matters."

Samaranch Jr. attended the welcome banquet hosted by President Xi last Saturday ahead of the Asiad opening ceremony near the famed West Lake.

As the Chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission for the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, Samaranch Jr. witnessed the entire process of Beijing 2022. He was deeply impressed by how President Xi led the Chinese people to contribute to the development of the Olympic Movement.

"I remember President Xi said that the legacy Beijing 2022 could hopefully leave is to involve 300 million Chinese people in winter sports," Samaranch Jr. recalled. "But this very ambitious legacy, ambitious target was achieved even before the Games."

The Asian Games officially opened with a grand ceremony at the lotus-shaped Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium last Saturday night. It marks the third time that China has hosted the Asian Games, following Beijing in 1990 and Guangzhou in 2010.

Samaranch Jr. commended the opening ceremony of digital innovation and human gracefulness as "Olympic level."

"It was a world-class ceremony, not a surprise," he said.

"We know and we have experienced the capacity, imagination and competence of the Chinese people and technicians to put together a ceremony.

"In my personal opinion, it was simple, elegant and had a lot of harmony. Certainly Olympic level," he added.

Samaranch Jr. said that he was also impressed after watching gymnastics competition on site at the Huanglong Sports Center Gymnasium on Sunday.

"It was a great performance by the national team. It was thrilling," he said.

"It's also very important how respectful the Chinese public was with the rest of the competitors. Of course, they cheered for China, but they also applauded, respected and encouraged the gymnasts from other countries. That was a good show of sportsmanship."

For Samaranch Jr., China has become "the most important country in organizing sports events" throughout the process in the past years.

"You had the University Games in Chengdu weeks ago. You are now having the Asian Games. You will have the World Games. You will have the Asian Winter Games in Harbin," he noted.

"You have become probably the most relevant sports event organizer."

Apart from the 2022 Winter Olympics, China has also hosted the Summer Olympics in 2008 and Youth Olympics in 2014.

When asked about how long China should wait to host an Olympic Games again, Samaranch Jr. replied, "It has more to do with the Chinese Olympic Committee."

"Out of respect and out of lack of knowledge, I cannot tell you which city [has the potential]. I can say that this country has many cities with the capacity, energy and experience to organize the Olympic Games," he said.

Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

Next In World

Three dead in blast during Mass in Philippine university gym - media
Philippines lifts tsunami alert after magnitude 7.4 earthquake
Russians ease attacks in eastern Ukraine, shattered town may still be held by Kyiv
One dead, one injured after assailant attacks passersby in Paris -minister
China-Greece int'l theater festival debuts in Athens
WHO to work with Libyan authorities against AIDS
What to watch at COP28 on Sunday
Fitch puts Greece back to investment grade
Lula says Brazil's participation in OPEC+ is to stop oil producers using fossil fuels
Interview: China's new visa-free policy facilitates travels, strengthens ties, says expert

Others Also Read