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.