CANBERRA, March 29 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese embassy in Australia hosted a reception for some participants in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games on Tuesday.
The reception was to celebrate the success of the Beijing Games and the achievements of the Australian athletes in the events.
"Under the theme 'Together for A Shared Future,' Beijing Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games have vigorously promoted the Olympic spirit and provided a platform for exchanges and mutual learning between different cultures, bringing not only warmth and hope to people of all countries in the cold winter of COVID-19 pandemic, but also the power for peace and solidarity to today's world," said Chinese ambassador Xiao Qian in his address.
He noted that Australia is a leading sports nation and has made significant contributions to the development of the international Olympic cause, congratulating Team Australia for their best results in the Winter Olympics in history and the athletes for their performances.
He said that sports exchanges "are an important part of cultural and people-to-people exchanges between China and Australia, and have made positive contributions to deepening the understanding and friendship between the two peoples and promoting the development of bilateral ties," recalling the early 1970s when the exchange of visits between the Chinese and Australian table tennis teams played a prelude to the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Australia.
"Friendship, which derives from close contact between the peoples, holds the key to sound state-to-state relations," said the ambassador. "Mutual understanding and friendship among peoples is the source of strength for the stable and sustainable development of China-Australia relationship."
This year marks the 50th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between China and Australia. Xiao said he hoped that people could take it as an opportunity to carry forward the Olympic spirit to enhance bilateral sports exchange and cooperation and work hand in hand together for a shared future.
His words were echoed by Matt Carroll, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Olympic Committee.
"From what we have seen over the last two years of the pandemic, we've learned the world is a very fragile place," he said. "(Sport) draws us together."
Joke O'Callaghan, president of the Paralympics Australia, spoke highly of the Beijing Games.
"Beijing 2022 will be remembered as probably the most challenging Winter Paralympic Games that we've had," he said. However, he was impressed by the facilities they used there and the warm reception they had in Beijing.
He then presented the Chinese ambassador with some framed photographs that commemorate the experiences of the Australian Paralympic team as a gift.
Tracey Holmes, a sports broadcaster and journalist with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and winner of the 2021 International Olympic Committee Women and Sports Awards for Oceania, was also invited to the reception.
She has covered the Olympic Games for three decades and has worked with China Central Television in 2008.
"Between 2008 and 2022, much in our world has changed," she said. "But one thing has remained constant, and that is the ability for sport to unite people despite challenges and differences."
Holmes believed that China and Australia had a shared history that goes back generations.
"It is these people-to-people relationships that build mutual understanding and trust," she said. "It is these people-to-people relationships through sport that can help eliminate misunderstanding and suspicion."
"Through the open doors of sport... I hope and truly believe it is the shared wish of everybody in this grand ballroom today that the Australia-China relationship can emerge stronger together... I hope sport continues to lead in that domain."