Fri, 03 Dec 2021

BEIJING, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- The 53-year-old Capital Gymnasium in Beijing is ready to hold the Asian Figure Skating Open and the Beijing leg of the ISU Short Track Speed Skating World Cup, also two test events for Beijing 2022.

All foreign figure skating athletes, coaches, referees and officials from the International Skating Union and Asian Skating Union have arrived in the Chinese capital, and the athletes will have warm-up sessions on the ice on Wednesday, according to Ding Dong, the operation director of the Capital Gymnasium.

"COVID-19 prevention is one of the focuses of these competitions," said Ding.

"Foreign athletes, coaches, referees, officials and working staff don't have to quarantine for days before coming to the Capital Gymnasium, but they must provide negative nucleic acid results within 48 hours before entering the closed loop," he added.

"Everybody in the closed loop must take nucleic acid tests once a day. Inside the stadium, everyone must wear a N95 mask. And the competitions will be held without spectators this time."

At Beijing 2022, the Capital Gymnasium will be a key battle field for the host nation, who boasts world's top athletes in figure skating and short-track speed skating.

According to Ding, the Asian Figure Skating Open, which will run from Oct. 14-16, has attracted 32 athletes from nine countries and regions. China's top pair - Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, and South Korea's No. 2 Cha Jun-hwan will show up at the arena.

The Asian Figure Skating Open is the second international competition of the Beijing 2022 test series, following the just-concluded China Open speed skating event at the National Speed Skating Oval, known as the "Ice Ribbon."

From October 5 to December 31, 10 international competitions, three training weeks and two domestic trials will be organized to test all elements of Beijing 2022 in the three competition zones of Beijing, Yanqing and Zhangjiakou.

The events cover speed skating, skeleton, luge, figure skating, short track speed skating, curling, wheelchair curling, bobsleigh, ice hockey, freestyle ski cross, snowboard cross, Nordic combined and biathlon, among which curling and ice hockey events will be limited to domestic athletes.

As for the Beijing leg of the ISU Short Track Speed Skating World Cup, which will start on Oct. 18, Ding said, "It is the first leg of the Beijing 2022 qualifying tournament, so it has attracted nearly 400 athletes around the world. China will also send all its elites to the Capital Gymnasium."

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