BEIJING (Reuters) – The men’s and women’s skeleton test events for the 2022 Winter Olympics were held at the National Sliding Centre in Beijing on Monday, making it the first international competition to take place at the newly constructed venue.
The races, sanctioned by the International Skeleton and Bobsleigh Federation (ISBF), will serve as a qualifying event for the Olympics, with 240 athletes from 23 countries set to compete across the two-day test event.
Competitors at the autumn and winter test events will be subject to daily tests for COVID-19 and required to remain in a bubble, in addition to being fully vaccinated before their arrival in China.
“We were very lucky in that we got to do a full season last year so a lot of it was very similar to that in terms of getting tested before you kind of flew anywhere,” Britain’s Marcus Wyatt said.
“We had lots of COVID tests throughout the week. I think a lot of athletes have just got used to that in the past… So I think we’re all mainly just happy that we can compete, that we can be here.”
Games organisers said earlier on Monday that the COVID-19 measures for the Winter Olympics, which will run from Feb. 4 to Feb. 20, would largely be the same as the test events.
Vaccination is not mandatory for the Beijing Games but some national Olympic committees, including that of the United States and Canada, are requiring team members to be vaccinated.
(Reporting by Martin Pollard; Writing by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)