SOFIA, March 22 (Xinhua) -- The preparations for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 were presented here on Thursday at the 2018 edition of the European Union (EU) Sport Forum.
"The Chinese government attaches great importance to the 2022 Games preparations," said Chu Bo, Director of Policy and Regulation Department of China's General Administration of Sport.
"Our Organizing Committee has fully integrated the concept of sustainable development into all aspects and processes of the preparations," Chu told the event, attended by nearly 350 delegates.
"Meanwhile, we intend to host our games in an economical way, making full use of the existing venues, and leaving exemplary sustainable legacies after 2022, similarly as we had managed after 2008," Chu said.
"To reduce the cost of hosting the Games, we will make full use of the existing venues," Chu said.
Beijing, as the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games, is able to take full advantage of the Olympic legacies from the 2008 Olympic Games, he said.
In the Beijing zone, there will be 13 venues, among which 11 are legacies of the 2008 Olympic Games, Chu said, adding that for example, the National Stadium, known as the "Birds Nest", will host the opening and closing ceremonies in 2022.
The post-Games use was of vital importance in the venue planning as well, Chu said.
The EU Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Commissioner Tibor Navracsics, who opened the event just before the presentation of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, said he was particularly proud, for the first time, to welcome to the EU Sport Forum participants from beyond the EU such as the Western Balkans, the United States and China.
"This confirms the big role sport has to play in further strengthening and developing international relations and cooperation," Navracsics said.
Meanwhile, sport can drive local and regional development, he said. "In many European regions and cities, sport is already a significant part of broader strategies involving health, tourism, urban planning and other related sectors," he added.
Krasen Kralev, Bulgaria's Minister of Youth and Sports, said in turn that sport was created to unite people and it has no borders.
"Quite recently, during the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games, once again we became witnesses of sport's power and the formation of a common team of DPR Korea and South Korea, and we therefore would never underestimate the messages sport can disseminate," Kralev said.