Moscow's envoy to China impressed with Winter Olympics preparation
Russia backs Beijing 2022
Published: Feb 06, 2022 09:09 PM
Russian ambassador to China Andrey Denisov Photo: VCG

Russian Ambassador to China Andrey Denisov Photo: VCG

The wishes from the Russian envoy to China for a successful Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, and firm opposition to a political boycott, represent the latest Russian support to China for this global sports event. 

In the annual press conference of the Russian embassy in Beijing on January 25, Ambassador Andrey Denisov said that he fully believes China will host a high quality event, and overcome all difficulties posed by COVID-19.

Denisov described the event as a double happiness for Russia as the country sent a big delegation to Beijing, and Russian President Vladimir Putin had a face-to-face meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing.

Russia sent a 500-member delegation, including 216 athletes, as well as coaches, medical staff and service support staff, which is the biggest foreign delegation, to the event.

"Putin's visit to China is not only a major event in China-Russia relations, but also has global attention. Over the past year, two heads of state have maintained close communication and exchanges, yet those exchanges cannot replace an in-person meeting," Denisov told the Global Times at the press conference.

During the meeting with Xi ahead of the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, Putin said that official visits during the opening of the Olympics have become a tradition, mentioning his visit to Beijing in the summer of 2008 for the Summer Olympics, Xi's visit to Russia in 2014 for the Sochi Winter Olympics and the meeting in Beijing before the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

The ambassador told the media that he was among the guests of first group of ambassadors to China to visit some Games sites upon invitation by the Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi one year ago. What particularly impressed him was that most of the facilities for the Winter Olympics were basically finished in an efficient manner. 

"China had already completed 95 percent of the related facilities even one year before the opening of the Olympic Games, which proves China's strong capability, while many race organizers take the very last minute, even on the opening day, to complete at all," said the ambassador.

What surprised the ambassador at that time was that China fully displayed its creativity in building infrastructure.

"We would like to stress in particular that the quality of these facilities built in China is very high and will encourage athletes to achieve good results and set some records," the envoy suggested.

Denisov denounced the so-called "political boycott" of the Games, saying people want to sabotage the event for narrow political interests, which damages their own interests. Such efforts are futile as people know that they have no valid basis, and the slanders will fade away, he noted.

"When Russia hosted the Winter Olympics in Sochi eight years ago, a group of people promoted fake news and other sabotage activities to try to boycott our Games and undermine our reputation as a host country," the ambassador recalled. "Such efforts are futile as people know that they have no valid basis, and the slander will fade away. Those who wish to harm China's interests with a 'diplomatic boycott' are harming their own," said the ambassador.

 "I have often been asked what country I support. As a Russian, I of course support Russian athletes. But as a Beijing resident, I also support Team China. Thus, the two teams will have my support during the Winter Olympics," Denisov said. 

Denisov is still impressed by the friendly ice hockey match between Chinese and Russian youth teams in Tianjin when Putin visited China in 2018. 

"The youth teams gave their best performance and demonstrated their greatest skills under watch of two leaders. So we believe the joint presence of the two heads of state at the opening ceremony to support the Winter Olympics will certainly play a positive role," said the ambassador.

Sports cooperation between China and Russia is very extensive. China and Russia - one Summer Olympics powerful participant and one Winter Olympics primary participant - can better learn from each other. Soccer is also expected to be included in future sports cooperation between the two countries, Denisov told the media.