Former NBA star Yao Ming is the part of the Beijing 2022 delegation in Kuala Lumpur ©Beijing 2022

Delegations from Almaty and Beijing have both arrived here as they begin a frantic final week of lobbying before a decision will be made on which city will host the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) are due to vote at its Session on Friday (July 31) with the Chinese capital the firm favourite to become the first city to host both the Summer and Winter editions of the Games.

Almaty, however, have been gaining ground in recent weeks following a disorganised start to their campaign which could cost them dearly.

Beijing's team is led by the city's Mayor, Wang Anshun, the bid's President, and the country's Sports Minister, Liu Peng, who is also President of the Chinese Olympic Committee. 

It also includes Zhang Haidi, chair of the China Disabled Persons' Federation, and a number of top athletes.

The best known figure is former basketball player Yao Ming, the 7ft 6in centre who played in the National Basketball Association for Houston Rockets and carried China's flag in the Opening Ceremony at Beijing 2008, and Li Nina, an aerial skier who has won Olympic silver medals at Turin 2006 and Vancouver 2010. 

“At less than a week before the 2022 host city Election, we continue our hard work to showcase to the Olympic Family the strengths of our bid boasting guaranteed delivery and tremendous potential for winter sports," said Wang. 

“We were able to lead a productive dialogue with the IOC throughout the campaign, and we are convinced that there are multiple reasons why Beijing would be the ideal, athlete-centred, sustainable and economical, choice for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

"We have put together a strong team to enhance this message once again in the finish line.”

ochi 2014 bronze medallist Denis Ten will be part of the presentation team for Almaty 2022
Sochi 2014 bronze medallist Denis Ten will be part of the presentation team for Almaty 2022 ©Almaty 2022

Almaty, meanwhile, are continuing to try to get their message across their bid is one of the most compact in more than 30 years with all the venues located within a 30 kilometres radius of the Olympic Village.

Seventy percent of the venues necessary for the Games already exist and are currently fully utilised for winter sports, Almaty 2022 claim. 

The most high-profile member of the delegation from Almaty 2022 is figure skater Denis Ten, the Olympic bronze medallist at Sochi 2014. 

"Almaty’s bid for the Winter Games is driven by our people’s passion for winter sports and is well aligned with our long-term sports infrastructure plan," said Arystanbek Mukhamediuly, Kazakhstan's Minister of Culture and Sport. 

"Almaty will only need two additional competition venues for the Games.

"Rising demand from the city and region makes the addition of these venues a natural continuation of our strategic plan.

"Hosting the Winter Games will further the development of winter sports in Kazakhstan and the Central Asian region."

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