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Australian Olympic Committee marks countdown to Beijing 2022******
SYDNEY, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- As the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) on Wednesday celebrates 100 days until the start of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, Australian athletes are strapping on their boots and fastening their goggles, ready to hit the slopes in the Chinese capital.
"We're just 100 days from the opening ceremony, and our athletes are doing everything they can to represent Australia in Beijing," said Australia's Chef de Mission Geoff Lipshut.
Australia is set to send a team of more than 40 athletes to compete in events such as alpine skiing, figure skating and bobsledding.
One of the starkest challenges for the Australian athletes is preparing for winter sports during the country's scorching summer months.
For some, this means off-snow training in Australia, while others have chased winter and are preparing for the Games in the northern hemisphere.
The AOC has chosen the motto "Chasing Winter", "highlighting Aussie athletes' year-round pursuit of winter excellence".
2018 Olympic snowboard cross silver medalist Jarryd Hughes said his training would be in overdrive now the countdown has truly begun.
"It feels great to have the Olympics so close and 100 days is a great mark to add some extra energy to my preparation," he said.
Bree Walker is set to make her Olympic debut in the new sport of women's monobob, or individual bobsledding.
"To represent Australia at the Olympics has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember," Walker said. "I have worked so incredibly hard, especially over the last four years, that would all be worth it to represent Australia at the Games."
Walker has already begun testing the facilities at the Yanqing National Sliding Centre in Beijing during this week's test event, which she praised as "world class".
"If the facilities are anything to go off, I think these are going to be a spectacular Olympics."
"It's going to be anyone's game here in February."
The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics will be held from February 4 to 20, with events also being held in towns in the neighbouring Hebei Province. Enditem
Nearly 200 people perish in India, Nepal rains******
Nearly 200 people have died in floods and landslides in India and Nepal, officials said yesterday, with whole families buried in their homes and two young girls swept away as forecasters warned of yet more heavy rain.
Experts say they were victims of the ever-more unpredictable and extreme weather that has hit South Asia in recent years caused by climate change and exacerbated by deforestation and excessive development.
Nepal recorded the sharpest rise in casualties, with officials saying that 88 people have died, among them a family of six whose house was obliterated by a sudden avalanche of soil and debris.
"All district disaster management committees have been actively working in rescue and relief operations," emergencies official Dijan Bhattarai said.
In the Himalayan northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, 55 people were confirmed yesterday to have died – five of whom were from a single family whose house was buried by a massive landslide.
Many bridges and roads have been damaged and many towns have been cut off, and the army has been brought in to restore contact and reach thousands of people stranded.
Five people were killed in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal, including two girls aged 8 and 10 from the same family swept away, as heavy rains pounded the hills of Darjeeling and other districts.