Thomas Bach visited Shanghai ahead of Paris 2024. GETTY IMAGES

During the Olympic Qualifier Series in Shanghai, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach visited China, accompanied by IOC Members Yu Zaiqing, Li Lingwei, and Zhang Hong, along with IOC Vice President Ser Miang Ng.

President Bach received a warm welcome from Gao Zhidan, President of the Chinese Olympic Committee (COC), upon his arrival in China. Ahead of witnessing China's podium sweep in the women’s BMX freestyle park competition at the Olympic Qualifier Series, President Bach and President Gao engaged in discussions covering various Olympic topics. 

These included the influence of geopolitical tensions on sports, preparations for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, and initiatives related to esports and the Olympic Artificial Intelligence (AI) Agenda. Both leaders emphasised the significance of providing equal access to all within the Olympic Movement to bridge the gap between athletes from privileged and less privileged National Olympic Committees (NOCs), aligning with the principle of non-discrimination and solidarity. 

The COC expressed support for the IOC's efforts in esports and the importance of upholding Olympic Values, while the IOC President invited the COC to engage with the IOC esports commission. “Shanghai has given the Olympic Qualifier Series a fantastic start," said Bach. 

"I can only thank and congratulate Shanghai and the Chinese Olympic Committee on this electrifying event. It went far beyond our expectations. Shanghai has demonstrated once again its reputation as a city of innovation, also with regard to global sport events."

IOC President Thomas Bach was present in China ahead of Paris 2024. THE NEWS MARKET
IOC President Thomas Bach was present in China ahead of Paris 2024. THE NEWS MARKET

During a meeting with Shanghai's Party Secretary, Chen Jining, President Bach extended congratulations on the success of the Olympic Qualifier Series, which attracted 45,000 spectators. President Bach expressed gratitude for Shanghai's efforts in hosting and organising the event.

President Bach attended the Olympic Qualifier Series finals, witnessing activations by nine Worldwide Olympic Partners. He visited showcases by Chinese partners Alibaba and Mengniu, meeting with Alibaba Group's President of Strategic Development, Chris Tung. Tung presented Alibaba's dedicated pin and Official Licensed products for the event and Paris 2024, available on Tmall.

During his meeting with Gao Fei, CEO of Worldwide Olympic Partner Mengniu, President Bach discussed the upcoming Olympic Games and received updates on Mengniu's plans for the event. While visiting Mengniu's showcase area, Gao introduced President Bach to Liao Zhi, a dancer and Mengniu's Ambassador for Perseverance, who wears prostheses. Liao will fulfill her role for Mengniu at Paris 2024.

During his visit to CMG's Shanghai offices, President Shen Haixiong welcomed the IOC President. They inaugurated an art exhibition, unveiled CMG's Paris 2024 logo, and launched the "Morning Sports Programme." They also awarded certificates to CMG representatives for the Paris Olympics, where CMG will produce the international signal for gymnastics, table tennis, badminton, and sport climbing on behalf of OBS.

The Olympic Qualifier Series took place in the Chinese capital, Shanghai. THE NEWS MARKET
The Olympic Qualifier Series took place in the Chinese capital, Shanghai. THE NEWS MARKET

The IOC President visited HYX's Shanghai headquarters, where he was welcomed by Chairman Lui Ruiqi. They toured the building, which will provide official IOC uniforms for the Paris 2024 and Milano Cortina 2026 Olympics. During his Shanghai visit, the IOC President was granted an Honorary Professorship by the Shanghai University of Sport. President Bach remarked, "It is this Olympic mission that connects the Olympic community with the Shanghai University of Sport.

"With your educational mission and holistic approach – the integration of Mind and Body – you are bringing the Olympic values of excellence, respect, peace and solidarity to the next generation of athletes, coaches, sport educators and professionals. Through your work, you are promoting these ideals of sport in society and bringing them to life."

At the university campus, he toured the China Table Tennis College (CTTC), meeting aspiring Olympians and future top players. He engaged with an AI table tennis robot and played a few rounds. Additionally, he visited the Institute of Olympic Studies and Research, part of a global network of over 70 Academic Olympic Studies and Research Centers, overseen by the Olympic Studies Centre in Lausanne.

President Bach hosted a dinner for IOC Members and Presidents of International Federations in Shanghai. Later, he inaugurated the Shanghai Velodrome on Chongming Island with UCI President David Lappartient. The Shanghai Velodrome is set to host the 2026 UCI Track World Championships. During his visit, the IOC President conversed with several top Chinese track cyclists, who are currently preparing for Paris 2024.