Olympics: Beijing to bid for 2022 Winter Olympics - reports

BEIJING (AFP) - Beijing, which hosted the 2008 Olympics, will bid to hold the 2022 Winter Games, state-run media said Tuesday.

China's Olympic Committee has "in the name of Beijing city, applied to the International Olympic Committee" (IOC) to host the Games, the official Xinhua news agency said on a verified social media account.

The application says that ice sports would be held in Beijing, while snow events would take place in the city of Zhangjiakou, in the neighbouring province of Hebei, Xinhua reported.

Zhangjiakou is about 160 kilometres from Beijing, and driving between them currently takes around five hours. Work will begin this year on a high-speed rail link that will cut the journey time to around 40 minutes, Xinhua said.

Other candidate cities for the 2022 Winter Games are Germany's Munich, the Norwegian capital Oslo, Almaty in Kazakhstan, Poland's Krakow, Ukraine's Lviv and Sweden's Oestersund.

China has not previously hosted the Winter Olympics, but the 2008 Summer Games marked a key event in Beijing's emergence on the world stage, although it saw controversy over the country's human rights record.

The 2022 Winter Games will be awarded by the IOC in Kuala Lumpur in July 2015.

Oslo is the strongest candidate to host the event, the president of the International Ski Federation (FIS) said in an interview in September.