Geneva - An International Olympic Committee panel is visiting the Kazakh city of Almaty to assess its bid for the 2022 Winter Games.
Almaty is competing against Beijing in a race that was reduced to two candidates after the withdrawal of bidders because of financial and political concerns.
The 14-member IOC evaluation commission, chaired by Russian member Alexander Zhukov, will spend five days in Almaty, visiting the proposed sports venues and meeting Kazakhstan's bid and government leaders to discuss their plans.
The bid's vice chairperson, Andrey Kryukov, said: "The impact of Almaty 2022's Olympic legacy will be far reaching, not only in helping us meet the growing demand for winter sport infrastructure in the region, but also in serving as a catalyst for economic and societal progress."
The IOC panel will visit Beijing from March 24-28.