IOC President Thomas Bach and United Nations counterpart Abdulla Shahid took part in the closing stages of the Beijing 2022 Torch Relay before it made its way to the Opening Ceremony ©Getty Images

United Nations General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid has compared his organisation to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after carrying the Beijing 2022 Olympic flame on the final leg of its Relay before the Opening Ceremony.

"I was honoured to join the Olympic Torch Relay, the Olympics represent humanity at its best," Shahid said.

"The best of the coming together to compete graciously, to accept winning with humility and defeat with graciousness,”he added.

"That is what the event is about. And that is what the Olympic flame represents. And as the UN President of the General Assembly, I was privileged today to have that honour,”

Human rights groups had asked UN leaders not to attend the Games over concerns about repression of minority groups in China.

“The IOC maintains and provides the platform for people of all nations, irrespective of their beliefs, political, religious, ethnic, any of these differences," Shahid insisted.

COVID-19 tests permitting, almost 3,000 athletes are set to take part in these Olympics Games.

"They do wear tracksuits, but they are the diplomats," Shahid, who is from the Maldive Islands, said. 

"We want the young, energetic women and men coming together, interacting with each other and providing the energy that we so badly need for promotion of peace,"

IOC President Thomas Bach did not participate in the Tokyo 2020 Torch Relay citing concerns about COVID-19.

In Beijing he received the Flame from Sochi 2014 speed skating champion Zhang Hong.

"The Olympic Torch and the Olympic flame are symbols of peace and understanding," Bach said.