China’s sports ministry will back a bid from any enthusiastic city to host the 2018 Winter Olympics, sports minister Liu Peng said on Monday.
The northern city of Harbin, which hosted the Winter University Games earlier this year, submitted a bid proposal to China’s State Council last month, while 2007 Asian Winter Games venue Changchun in Jilin province was also reported to be interested.
China must inform the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of the name of any bid city by Oct. 15.
“Harbin and Jilin both have had experience in hosting international winter competitions,” Liu told a news conference on Monday.
“Whether to bid for Winter Olympics firstly depends on the enthusiasm of the potential host cities. If they are really enthusiastic to bid we will certainly support them.”
Liu, who is a member of the State Council, said last month that a Chinese bid to host a Winter Games in 2018 would be “difficult”.
Heilongjiang Province spent 3.1 billion yuan ($453.7 million) on building Olympic standard facilities for this year’s Winter University Games in Harbin, including the venue for China’s first accredited Alpine skiing downhill race.
The Heilongjiang Daily on Monday quoted governor Li Zhanshu as saying Harbin would not give up if they failed to win, as they did in their bid for the 2010 Games.
“If we fail again in the bid for the 2018 Winter Games, then we are determined to win the 2022 Games,” he told the paper. “To host the first ever Winter Games in China is our dream”
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