Beijing 2022, pictured presenting to the IOC during this month's Candidate City Briefing, are seeking to gain more winter sporting experience  ©Getty Images

Selected sports officials from across China have been training at the Russian International Olympic University (RIOU) in order to gain expertise necessary for organising a Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

This comes as Beijing takes on Almaty for the 2022 Games ahead of a decision due to be made on July 31 at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Kuala Lumpur.

The "Management of sports competitions" course, aimed at 25 heads of sports agencies and facilities from across the world's most populous nation, has consisted of series of lectures, seminars and discussions over a two-week period.

Issues on the agenda span designing ice palaces and ski slopes, organising ticket sales and relations with spectators, as well as legacy and post-Games usage of venues.

Visits have been paid during the course to several of the venues used during last year's Games in Sochi, including the mountain-ski resort in Rosa Khutor, the Laura Ski and Biathlon Complex, and the Gorki Ski Jumping Hills.

"We are ready to show by the Sochi example the whole process for managers directly involved in the organisation of major sports events: from the stage of the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games to the use of their heritage inclusive," RIOU rector Lou Belousov told the ITAR TASS press agency.

The Sochi-based University was founded in 2009 with support from the IOC, Sochi 2014 organisers and the Russian Olympic Committee, as well as other Russian authorities.

Courses at the RIOU are considered a sound foundation for all aspects of sports administration ©RIOU
Courses at the RIOU are considered a sound foundation for all aspects of sports administration ©RIOU

All aspects of sports administration are covered in the university's educational programmes, including venue and infrastructure management, competitions, mass communications, diplomacy and administration, and career management.

Studying there is thus an obvious way to hone experience for Beijing officials, with the relative lack of Chinese hosting of events in snow sports meaning there is a need for more expertise.

This was something raised in the IOC Evaluation Commission report as a challenge for both cities bidding for the Games.

Almaty, which unlike Beijing has never hosted an event on the scale of the Olympics before, is also likely to make use of foreign expertise and, because of its close ties with Russia, would also be likely to draw on many of those involved in Sochi 2014.

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