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Beijing to open Olympic speed skating arena in 2016

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The organising committee of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics have confirmed that the speed skating venue will open in 2016.

Beijing 2022’s director of the administration of sport, Li Yinchuan, said the 12,000-seater National Speed Skate Stadium will be open to athletes and the public as part of “pre-Games legacy” plans.

Prior to the Games, the venue will be used for regional and competitions as well as by the general public for community skating sessions.

Located west of the city’s Olympic Park, the arena will house skating tracks as long as 400m, and will hold long and medium distance speed skating during the 2022 Games.

The venue may also be used as one of the locations for the opening and closing ceremonies.

Beijing will be the main venue for the Games, but events will also take place in Zhangjiakou – 180km to the north of the Chinese capital – and Yanqing, 74km away.

Zhangjiakou is set to host a significant event cluster, with snowboarding, freestyle skiing, cross-country, ski jumping, Nordic combined and biathlon events all taking place at the popular resort.

Beijing is the first city in history to host both a summer and winter Games and organisers have said they will rely heavily on venues built for the 2008 summer Olympics – such as the iconic Bird’s Nest stadium and the Water Cube aquatics centre.

The city’s proposed budget for investment in 2022 Olympic villages, sports venues and other infrastructure totals US$1.5bn (€1.37bn, £960m) – significantly less than for winter Games in the past.

According to the bid documents, Chinese organisers plan to offset the proposed operational budget by revenue from ticket sales, marketing sponsorships and other income. The International Olympic Committee will also inject around US$880m (€802m, £563m) to support the staging of the Games.

• Beijing’s successful bid now means that Asia becomes the first continent – other than Europe – to host three consecutive Olympic Games; Pyeongchang 2018 (winter), Tokyo 2020 (summer) and Beijing 2022 (winter).

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Beijing officials have earmarked 2016 for the completion of its 2022 Winter Olympics speed skating arena.
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