Testing of ice sport venues is underway in Beijing ©Getty Images

Beijing 2022 has begun its latest series of adapted test events for the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, with ice sports now the focus.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Beijing 2022 confirmed in November that the international test event programme would be replaced by an adapted sports testing programme.

This will see facilities, timing and medical services tested prior to next year’s Games.

Zhangjiakou and Yanqing held testing over a 10-day period in February, where the focus was on snow and sliding sports.

A second batch of test events began yesterday and will take place until April 10.

The latest tests will examine preparations for curling and wheelchair curling, ice hockey and para ice hockey, as well as short track speed skating, speed skating and figure skating.

Beijing 2022 says the events will focus on competition organisation, venue operation, services and safeguarding.

The National Aquatics Centre, dubbed the Ice Cube for the Games, is among the venues being tested over the coming week.

The National Indoor Stadium, the newly-constructed National Speed Skating Oval, the Capital Gymnasium, and the Wukesong Sports Centre are also being tested.

Beijing 2022 is calling the programme of events "Experience Beijing".

Curling and ice hockey tests are already underway.

Yan Cheng, Beijing 2022's human resources director, told Chinese state news agency Xinhua that the tests would help optimise operations for the Games.

Curling is taking place at the National Aquatics Centre, which is now known as the Ice Cube ©Getty Images
Curling is taking place at the National Aquatics Centre, which is now known as the Ice Cube ©Getty Images

"First, we need to learn about rules of venue operation and showcase our collective capabilities according to game-time requirements," Yan said.

"The second is about drilling on our capabilities of solving all problems on the venue level. 

"Problems would be handed over to the headquarters if they exceeded venue resource deployment and emergency disposal.

"Third, we hope to examine the operation teams and strengthen their cooperation, communication and coordination.

"Organisers will make personnel adjustments according to follow-up evaluation, and game-time operation teams will be formed step by step.

"The test run for ice sports is of great significance to the organising committee, local safeguarding and competition organisation staff.

"Opportunity knocks but once.

"We hope to optimise the effect of this test programme and meet all requirements on the basis of those in-game time."

The National Speed Skating Oval will be among the venues tested ©Getty Images
The National Speed Skating Oval will be among the venues tested ©Getty Images

Ice-making quality, media operations and broadcast requirements will be among the areas assessed, along with anti-doping testing.

Organisers say strict COVID-19 countermeasures are in place at the events.

A total of 10 full test events are expected to be held between October and December this year.

The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics are scheduled to take place from February 4 to 20 next year, with the Paralympics due to follow from March 4 to 13.

The build-up to the Games has seen China face criticism for alleged human rights abuses of Uyghur Muslims and in Hong Kong, accusations the host nation has repeatedly denied, and politicians and campaigners in several Western countries have called for a boycott of the event.