JULY 31 2015 (SRI) – In a close final vote, Beijing beat Almaty, Kazakhstan’s financial centre, in the race to host the 2022 Winter Olympics on Friday.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded Beijing the 2022 Winter Games after a final meeting in Kuala Lumpar. Beijing won 44 votes against Almaty’s 40 votes. There was one abstention.
Almaty had been considered a rank outsider at the start of the bidding process for the 2022 Winter Olympics, two years ago, but after a handful of fancied European venues pulled out it became a serious contender.
Almaty’s presentation delegation in Kuala Lumpar — which included PM Karim Massimov, foreign minister Yerlan Idrissov and some of Kazakhstan’s most well-known athletes — looked visibly deflated, yet gracious, in defeat.
In Almaty, the hundreds of people who had gathered in Republic Square also took defeat with magnanimity.
“It was a matter of pride for all citizens of Almaty, despite the defeat,” one man told Kazakh TV. “Everyone who gathered in the square was cheering and speaking of success even after the announcement.”
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev had wanted to secure the right to host the Winter Olympic Games in 2022 to generate positive publicity for Kazakhstan, give the country an economic boost and secure his own legacy as the Father-of-the-Nation.
After hosting the Summer Olympics in 2008, Beijing will now become the first city in the world to host both the Summer and Winter Games.