Two Chinese cities to bid for 2018 Winter Games
The Chinese city of Harbin, one of the potential bidders, bid for the 2010 Winter Olympics but failed to make the final round, which was eventually won by Vancouver, Canada.Beijing -- China's northeastern cities of Harbin and Changchun plan to bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics but only one city will be chosen by the government, an official and state media said Tuesday.
"We are still preparing a bid report and we will hand it over to the central government soon," a media liaison for the government of Heilongjiang province, of which Harbin is the capital, told AFP on condition of anonymity. "We have expressed our intention to make the bid. So far the central government has responded positively."
The Olympic Committee of China must formally inform the International Olympic Committee of any potential bids from China for the 2018 Games by October 15.
According to the Dongbei Net, a government-run news website in China's northeast region, Changchun, the capital of Jilin province, has also said it will bid for the 2018 Games.
The web report said that both Harbin and Changchun are in the running, but the State Council, or national cabinet, and the sports ministry would only choose one city.
The Heilongjiang official further added that neither city had handed in a formal bid report, but both have told the State Council of their intention to bid.
"Harbin and Jilin both have had experience in hosting international winter competitions," Sports Minister Liu Peng told a news conference in Beijing on Monday. "Whether to bid for the Winter Olympics firstly depends on the enthusiasm of the potential host cities. If they are really enthusiastic to bid, we will certainly support them."
Harbin, a city of over three million people known for its frigid winter weather and its annual ice festival, bid for the 2010 Winter Olympics, but failed to make the final round, which was eventually won by Vancouver, Canada.
Harbin and its surrounding mountains have served as training grounds for China's winter sports teams for decades. The city hosted the World University Winter Games this year after building several modern venues.
The German city of Munich, which staged the 1972 Summer Olympics, Pyeongchang in South Korea and the French town of Annecy have so far announced their intention to bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
The 2014 Winter Olympics will be held in the Russian resort city of Sochi.