IOC vice president Ng sees Olympics as bridges, not walls

SINGAPORE, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- Politicizing the Olympic Games will come to no avail but affect thousands of athletes who have spent years or even their lives preparing for the games, Vice President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Ng Ser Miang said Tuesday.

File photo: VCG

"We believe that the Games itself build bridges, not walls," he said in an interview with Xinhua in Singapore before departing for Beijing for the Winter Olympic Games that will kick off on February 4.

The Games itself provides opportunities for the whole world to come together, regardless of race, gender, religion and age, he added.

"It's a really amazing platform to have constructive engagement rather than to have boycotts," he noted.

There were boycotts of the Olympic Games in the past, which achieved no political objectives, except for affecting thousands of athletes who have spent years or even their lives preparing for the Games, and then only to have their Olympic dreams dashed because of politics, Ng said.

"We do not believe in politicizing the Olympic Games, and we welcome statements that would put the Games and athletes away from politics," said Ng, who is in his second term as IOC's Vice President.

He said he was happy that the United Nations General Assembly adopted unanimously last December a resolution that calls for a truce during the Beijing Olympic Games.

Ng thought the resolution approved by the 192-member body unanimously was "an amazing achievement."

In fact, Ng believed that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the world needs the Olympic Games even more, where the best athletes in the world can come together to compete and to exchange views when traveling in many parts of the world has been curtailed because of the pandemic.

"Obviously, there will be diversity, but this is what we celebrate as well," he pointed out.

Ng recalled that the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympic Games was an amazing success and a very exciting experience for the participants, from the spectacular opening ceremony to the meticulous planning and organization that went seamlessly and fantastically.

"2022 Winter Games in Beijing is really built on the foundation and legacy of the 2008 Summer Games," he said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed challenges to the world, affecting people's lives as well as sports events over the last few years. Despite the very challenging circumstances, Beijing has put in tremendous resources over the last seven years to make preparations for the Winter Games, he said.

"So we really want to thank our friends in Beijing for their really great efforts in making sure that the game is on schedule, and it's gonna be a fantastic game," he said.

"I believe that the Games itself would be a really amazing Games with the human spirit overcoming this big challenges of the pandemic. So the innumerable human spirit against all adversity. and I want to wish Beijing 2022 the very best of luck," he added.

With this Winter Games, "Beijing itself also creates history" by becoming the first city in the world to host both the Summer and Winter Games.

"I give my congratulations to Beijing for this very unique achievement," said Ng Ser Miang.

Although there is no Singaporean athlete taking part in the Beijing Winter Games, Ng said he was happy that his home country has become one of the four hubs for the Beijing Winter Olympics Games. Starting from Jan. 23, Singapore Airlines has been operating daily commercial flights for the games back and forth, facilitating relevant participants from Singapore and neighboring countries and regions to travel to Beijing.

Talking about China's goal of involving 300 million Chinese people in Winter sports, Ng said the goal itself is lofty and admirable.

He noted that China has already exceeded this goal, with over 340 million Chinese joining in sports activities on the ice and snow.

"With such enthusiasm and impetus for the Winter Games, China will become a strong winter sports country in terms of taking part in major competitions and in the future Winter Olympic Games as well," he noted.

As different parts of the world are now going through different stages of the COVID-19, to host the Winter Games and to participate in the games of such scales and with such complexity, "it's a show that the world can really come together to achieve something that even the pandemic can not stop. This is very significant," he said.

"I think this could be the light at the end of the tunnel, where we believe that hopefully after the games, we learn better how to organize big events even with the pandemic, and hopefully the world would go back to normal as soon as we can," said Ng Ser Miang.