By Nick Butler at the Main Press centre in Sochi

Beijing 2022 would provide an impetus for reducing smog in the capital, it is claimed ©ChinaFotoPress/Getty ImagesFebruary 8 - Beijing 2022 have insisted that bidding for the Olympic and Paralympics Games will provide them with impetus to better address the issue of air pollution.

Yang Shu'an, vice-president of the Bid Committee and formerly executive vice-president for Beijing 2008, admitted air pollution "really is a challenge for Beijing's bid" but said they are more focused to deal with it than before 2008.

"Compared with that time, the Government is now more determined to solve the problem," he said.

"So, we are confident in this respect."

The question of air pollution, which continues to dog many Chinese cities and especially the capital, is an issue hanging over any sport event in Beijing - and on this occasion concerns seem particularly strong within China.

This is despite the fact that an independent poll, carried out by a French consultancy firm who questioned 2,500 people in 32 different cities, found that 94 per cent of the population are behind the bid. 

The Beijing 2022 team insist that there is strong public support behind their bid ©ITGThe Beijing 2022 team insist that there is strong public support behind their bid ©ITG

Speaking here where Beijing - along with Almaty, Krakow, Lviv and Oslo - are attending the Olympic and Paralympic Games as "official observers", Beijing provided reassurances over various other elements of their bid. 

This included their commitment to the Olympic Movement and the cultural and tourism advantages hosting the Games would bring, as well as the possibilities to further develop winter sport.

They also insisted the high speed rail project linking the 200 kilometres distance between the two host cities of Beijing and Zhangjiakou will be built regardless of whether they are successful - due to the need for transport infrastructure to be updated.

When asked whether the fact that the two Olympic and Paralympic Games prior to 2022 - Pyeongchang 2018 and Tokyo 2020 - are being held in East Asia will make IOC members reluctant to pick them, Beijing 2022 also insist they will just focus on what they can control.

"We hope that we are awarded the opportunity to host," said the Vice Mayor of Beijing Yang Xiaochao.

"We have to do our own job first - as long as we do that, we will make sure we have every possibility to host."