Players of Mali pose for photos prior to the group A match between Cameroon and Mali at the African Nations Championship in Yaounde, Cameroon, Jan. 20, 2021. (Xinhua/Jean Pierre Kepseu)
The National Olympic and Sports Committee of Mali is unequivocally supporting Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, said its president Habib Sissoko in an interview, stressing political issues must be set aside to allow athletes to thrive in a healthy environment by competing in fair play.
BAMAKO, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- The National Olympic and Sports Committee of Mali is unequivocally supporting Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, its president Habib Sissoko told Xinhua on Friday.
"We support China's commitment and determination to organize the Winter Olympics despite the coronavirus pandemic affecting the world," he said. "We are not surprised by this commitment of China to sport, to open up to the world's young athletes on the occasion of an event that is now a factor of peace in the world," he said.
Political issues must be set aside to allow athletes to thrive in a healthy environment by competing in fair play, he said.
"China still has a lot to contribute to the world, especially the Olympic and sports movement. That is why we must salute this strong will and determination to host sporting competitions," said Sissoko.
Moussa Ballo of Mali passes the ball during the group A match between Cameroon and Mali at the African Nations Championship in Yaounde, Cameroon, Jan. 20, 2021. (Xinhua/Jean Pierre Kepseu)
These Games provide great opportunities for those who have the privilege of participating because as China has already impressed the whole world with the Summer Games with its expertise in the creation of extraordinary infrastructures, and no doubt that the Winter Games Organizing Committee will have the ambition to do more than what they achieved in 2008, he said.
On Sino-Malian relations in the field of sport and Olympism, the president of the committee expressed hope that the best is yet to come.
"We would like to see genuine sports cooperation between Mali and China, which is a major sports country, given a large number of medals won at the recent Olympic Games, notably in Tokyo, and the many international competitions it has and continues to organize," he said.
"We remember the 2008 Olympic Summer Games in Beijing, the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing and now, in a few days, the Olympic Winter Games, all this proves China's ambition to promote global sports and universal peace through the integration of youth," said Sissoko, adding that China has been strengthening sports relations with the government of Mali and sports associations in terms of training, preparation of athletes, sports coaches and sports infrastructure.
"The 2008 Olympic Summer Games left us with the best memories of all our Olympic appearances," he recalled.
Facilities such as the Bird's Nest (China's National Stadium) and the Water Cube (China's National Aquatic Centre) are world-class sports facilities that have a positive impact on education, health and the environment, he said. ■