Adapted test events for all ice competitions at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics have been successfully concluded, organisers say.
The latest part of the Experience Beijing testing programme took place from April 1 to 10, during which time activities took place at five competition venues in the Beijing cluster - the National Aquatics Centre, National Indoor Stadium, National Speed Skating Oval, Capital Indoor Stadium and Wukesong Sports Centre.
All Beijing 2022 ice sports were tested, including curling, speed skating, short track speed skating, figure skating, ice hockey, Para ice hockey and wheelchair curling.
As a response to the pandemic, 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.
Liu Yumin, director general of the Beijing 2022 planning and construction department, reported that the venues and facilities had reached the required level of hosting the Beijing 2022 Games as scheduled.
According to a Beijing 2022 release, athletes believe that "both the ice quality of the rinks and the protective pads around the rinks are perfect, and the venues feel particularly comfortable."
In addition, venue operations teams, the command system, as well as COVID-19 countermeasures also passed the tests.
Domestic and foreign journalists attended the ice events to test media operations.
The recent activities also provided opportunities for Beijing 2022 to test new and advanced technologies that will be in the spotlight at the Winter Games next year.
Natural carbon dioxide refrigeration technology, which has been used for the first time in Olympic venues, can greatly reduce carbon emissions - equivalent to planting more than a million trees, it is claimed.
Cloud broadcasting services ensured uninterrupted live streams and provided "free visual angle" technology, allowing audiences watching on mobile phones, VR headsets or TVs to choose their camera angles during the competitions.
Robots will deliver documents, equipment and baggage along pre-set routes to minimise human contact.
Beijing 2022 is now focused on further preparations by improving the construction and management of venues, organising and implementing testing activities, ensuring smooth competition operations in an orderly manner, planning outreach and cultural activities, and enhancing services for the Games.
Tests events for snow and sliding events were held successfully from February 16 to 26 in the Zhangjiakou and Yanqing Competition Zones.
Beijing 2022 is due to get underway on February 4 next year, but the coronavirus pandemic and calls from some quarters for the Games to be boycotted on human rights grounds appear likely to dominate the build-up.