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Beijing 2022 Games project continues amid COVID-19 headwinds
By Li Xiaoyang  ·  2020-05-05  ·   Source: Web Exclusive

Staff of the National Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Center project of Shanghai Baoye Group Corp. Ltd. work on ice-making for a track on March 11 (COURTESY PHOTO) 

Despite the tight work schedule and difficulties caused by the novel coronavirus epidemic outbreak, the National Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Center project has steadily advanced over the past few months, as the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 draw closer. The project is built by Shanghai Baoye Group Corp. Ltd.  

Initiated in 2018, the project is located at the Xiaohaituo Mountain, Yanqing District in the northern suburbs of Beijing, which is one of the three major sites for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. A bobsleigh, skeleton and luge track including a 360-degree curve is under construction. The venue will host alpine skiing, bobsleigh and luge races.  

With around 100 employees staying at the construction site during the Spring Festival holiday in late January, the work on the project was not halted because of the spread of the epidemic. As of the end of April, the management staff and workers totaling around 1,400 have returned to work, Tao Xin, a safety supervisor of the project, told Beijing Review. 

According to Tao, the company implemented strict anti-epidemic measures during the epidemic including health examination, quarantine and disinfection. Sun Yue, a staff in his 20s, played a major part in carrying out the prevention and control measures. "I have been taking body temperature for my colleagues and serving at checkpoints on construction sites at night," Sun told Beijing Review. 

The team faced great difficulties in completing the planned tasks when the epidemic situation became severe in February to March, as many employees were unable to return to work due to travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, Tao said. However, the team successfully completed ice-making on the track on March 10 this year as scheduled through adjustments in staff allocation and video conferences with foreign experts. The work requires high accuracy to make the surface of the track smooth and ensure the safety of athletes. 

With virus-induced headwinds easing, engineering projects in China have accelerated production resumption, and are looking to seize opportunities presented by the crisis. Yang Kuan, another staff of the project told Beijing Review that the epidemic has brought difficulties to the normal operation of domestic enterprises, with those in the construction industry severely affected. The resumption of production and restart of projects have led to a rising demand for labor and driven up labor costs. The prices of construction materials have also gone up. 

"However, supporting policies from local governments are in the pipeline. As construction enterprises with weak performance are squeezed out of the market, firms with strong competitiveness can also take the opportunity to gain market share," Yang said. 

Although the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games were rescheduled for July 23-August 8 in 2021 due to the pandemic, China has embraced the change proactively and confronted possible challenges to the Beijing 2022 Games. 

As the Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games told Xinhua News Agency in March, the Summer Games and Winter Games will be held within half a year of each other next year. It will conduct assessments of how the new dates will affect the Beijing 2022 Games and ensure the success of the Games with consistent efforts. 

Beijing won the bid in 2015 to host the 2022 Games. The capital will co-host the games with Zhangjiakou City in Hebei province, which lies about 200 kilometers away.  

Copyedited by Madhusudan Chaubey  

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