The final test events before the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics have begun with the Speed Skating China Open - a three-day competition featuring athletes from People's Republic of China, Republic of Korea and Netherlands.
The competition is the first of a series of test events and training camps that will be held in Beijing, Yanging and Zhangjiakou between now and the end of the year in preparation for February's Winter Olympic Games.
The Speed Skating China Open takes place in the newly-built National Speed Skating Oval, a state-of-the-art venue with a 12,000-metre square ice surface that is located in Beijing's Olympic Park. It will be followed by the Asian Open figure skating competition (13-17 October), a leg of the short-track speed skating World Cup (21-24 October), the world wheelchair curling championships (23-30 October) and time trials for bobsled and skeleton (25-26 October).
November's action will see a luge World Cup fixture (19-21 November) followed by World Cup events for snowboarding and freeski cross (28-28 November), with Continental Cup events for ski jumping and nordic combined taking place in December.
The test events will offer people across the world a glimpse of what the highly-anticipated Winter Olympic Games will have in store for them, with less than four months until the Opening Ceremony.
It is estimated that around 2,000 foreign athletes and support personnel are expected at the test events, which represent an excellent opportunity to evaluate facilities and operations prior to Beijing 2022.
Yao Hui, Venue Management director for Beijing 2022, spoke about the importance of the events, as the organisers of the Games put the final preparations in place before the Winter Olympics: "The test events are indispensable in Games preparation. They will lay a solid foundation for the safe and smooth hosting of the Beijing Olympic Winter Games as scheduled."
The Beijing 2022 speed skating competition begins on 5 February 2022 with the final medals decided on 19 February.