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Countdown to Beijing 2022******
LISBON, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- Portugal expects to have its best performance and its largest delegation ever at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, according to Pedro Farromba, member of the Portuguese Olympic Committee (COP) and President of the Federation of Winter Sports of Portugal.
"We have a long friendship with China, and these Games will be a milestone. It will be the biggest Winter Olympics of all time because we trust China's organizational capacity, logistics, infrastructure, and quality of facilities," he said in a joint interview with Chinese media.
According to Farromba, Portugal's preparations have been difficult due to pandemic-related restrictions, with many changes and cancelations to schedules.
"We have no idea of the exact number of athletes that we are going to take. It is very difficult to develop in our country a sport that is not linked to the sun, the beach, and football," he explained.
However, he highlighted that this will be the fifth consecutive edition of the Winter Olympic Games in which Portugal will participate.
"We have a learning path and we have already gained some experience, with financial support from the Portuguese government. We will do our best, even without waiting for medals, but we will fight and represent our country with dignity, developing winter sports in Portugal," said Farromba.
He added that Portugal would this month complete the construction of an ice rink to help develop sports that until now were developed outside the country or on wheel tracks.
Farromba added that he believed the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing will be "very safe" despite fears of COVID-19.
"We have had conversations with the Olympic organizing committee that give us great confidence in the event," he said, noting that he agreed with China's decision not to allow spectators from overseas to be present during the Games.
"In competitions, it is always important to have the support of the public. We had the expectation, when the Games were scheduled, to have the support of the Portuguese community in Macao. But we can't have the best scenario in this difficult time we live in," he recalled.
For the member of the COP, the Olympic Games means "hope", and the most important is the "appreciation of the Olympic ideals, fraternity, and healthy competition", he concluded in the interview. Enditem
Biden to discuss within G7 on Russia's military operation in Donbass******
US President Joe Biden said he will meet with his counterparts of other Group of Seven (G7) countries on Thursday morning to discuss next moves they will take on Russia in response to Moscow's military operation in the Donbass region.
Biden said Wednesday night the United States will also "coordinate with our NATO Allies to ensure a strong, united response that deters any aggression against the Alliance."
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday authorized "a special military operation" in the Donbass region. Ukraine confirmed that military targets across the country were under attack.
"Our plans do not include the occupation of Ukrainian territories. We are not going to impose anything on anyone by force," Putin said in a televised speech to the nation, noting that Russia's move is in response to "fundamental threats" of NATO which has expanded to eastern Europe and brought its military infrastructure closer to Russian borders.
Argentine Jose Pekerman takes charge of Venezuela******
CARACAS, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- Argentine manager Jose Pekerman has been appointed head coach of Venezuela's national team after agreeing to a five-year contract, the South American country's football federation said on Tuesday.。
The 72-year-old replaces Leonardo Gonzalez, who had been in charge on an interim basis following the August departure of Portuguese manager Jose Peseiro.。
"We are going to start with great enthusiasm," Pekerman told a news conference. "The objective that we have gives us reason to be hopeful. Our thinking has to be that there is no tomorrow. We have to focus on the present."
Pekerman has been out of work since ending a successful six-and-a-half-year spell as boss of Colombia's national team in September 2018. His 40-year managerial career has also included a stint as Argentina's head coach from 2004 to 2006.。
Venezuela are currently last in the 10-team South American zone qualifying standings for the 2022 World Cup.。
While out of contention for a place at football's showpiece tournament in Qatar, the Vinotinto are already setting their sights on qualifying for the 2026 tournament - to be played in Mexico, the United States and Canada - according to Pekerman.。
"Let's hope we can make that dream come true," he said. "We are going to follow a path of hard work, discipline and sound organization ... and our goal will always be to keep improving."
Pekerman's first match in charge of Venezuela will be a home World Cup qualifier against Bolivia on January 27. Enditem。
2021 Chinese Tennis Association Tour finals open in Macao******
MACAO, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- The 2021 Chinese Tennis Association (CTA) Tour finals for professionals opened Monday in China's Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR).。
Leading Chinese tennis players, including Zhang Zhizhen, Wu Yibing, and Zhu Lin, will compete in men's singles, women's singles, men's doubles and women's doubles.。
Winners of the tournament will take in prizes worth up to 2.2 million yuan (about 345,180 U.S. dollars) in total.。
The Tour had finished six legs of tournaments in Chinese cities of Anning, Rizhao, Changsha, Changzhou, Linfen and Guangzhou. Enditem。