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Olympics: Beijing heralds historic day after landing 2022 Games

[KUALA LUMPUR] Beijing mayor Wang Anshun heralded "a remarkable day for Beijing and for the Olympic movement" on Friday after the Chinese capital won the right to host the 2022 Winter Games.

The city beat Kazakhstan's Almaty 44-40 in a vote among International Olympic Committee members in Kuala Lumpur. "This day will go down in history," Mr Wang told reporters. "The first time in Olympic history that a city will host both a summer and a winter Olympic years. In 120 years this is unprecedented. We are overwhelmed."

Mr Wang vowed to make full use of the legacy from Beijing's 2008 Summer Olympics "while building an even stronger legacy from 2022".

The leader of the successful bid said the city would leverage this success to popularise and develop winter sport in China, dangling the prospect of 300 million new converts.

China's Olympic chief Liu Peng said he would lead by example. "Sport is all about engaging people for fitness and health," he said. "I am going to replace my roller blades with ice skates," he laughed. "And you will see me now skating on ice. I have started and I am skating quite well, you know."

Beijing's Games will be split between the city and the Zhangjiakou and Yanqing mountain ranges around an hour away.

President Xi Jinping sent his "warm congratulations". "You put a huge effort into bidding on the Winter Olympics," he said.

"I hope your persistent efforts, solid work, the strong support of all the nationalities of the people of the country, will make the 2022 Winter Olympics a splendid, extraordinary and outstanding Olympic meet."

China's basketball superstar Yao Ming was in the Malaysian capital lobbying for the Chinese.

"We are very, very excited about what we achieved here today," he said. "It is an exciting journey that is now starting."