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Olympic spirit needed now more than ever: UN chief

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BEIJING, 5th February, 2022 (WAM) — The qualities of fair play and solidarity that characterize the Olympics must shine throughout the games and beyond, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a video message to the opening of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, on Friday.

The UN chief congratulated the competitors, saying they embody the Olympic spirit of peace, mutual respect, and understanding.

“It is my fervent hope that this spirit goes far beyond these Olympics, to remind everyone – participants and viewers – that we belong to the same human family,” he said.

“There is no limit to what we can achieve when we work together – for peace, for human rights, and for healthy lives and wellbeing for everyone.”

Mr. Guterres is in Beijing, where he met on Friday with the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach.

In remarks following their talks, he underscored that the Olympic message of global unity and solidarity is needed now more than ever.

“In a moment when we see so many expressions of populism, so many expressions of racism, so many expressions of xenophobia, antisemitism, anti-Muslim hatred, to be here and to be with athletes that come from all cultures, from all countries, from all ethnicities, from all religions, it’s a fantastic message,” he said.

The Secretary-General added that competition “does not necessarily mean enmity”, as it can bring countries together to combat COVID-19, climate change, inequality and other global challenges that require more than unity and solidarity.

Some 90 countries are taking part in the Beijing games, which run through 20 February.

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