Games bid to boost winter sports
Updated: 2014-02-10 09:14
By Cui Jia in Urumqi, Xinjiang, and Lei Lei in Sochi, Russia (China Daily)
A snowboarder tackles the slopes at Yunding ski resort in Chongli. Wei Xiaohao / for China Daily
Currently, Xinjiang has only 65 professional winter sports athletes training in six ice and snow events out of a population of the region of more than 22 million, Wang said.
"But the input has already shown results as one Xinjiang athlete has qualified to compete in the World Junior Speed Skating Championships taking place in Norway in March this year," he said.
The Inner Mongolia autonomous region has also developed its winter sports facilities in recent years.
"We have re-established our winter sports teams. At the 2012 National Winter Games, we won one gold, two silver and three bronzes, the best results we have ever achieved in winter sports," said Shi Mei, chief of Inner Mongolia sports bureau.
"The bidding for the Winter Games offers us a golden opportunity to further develop winter sports and I hope our local athletes win medals in the next Winter Olympics in 2018," Shi added.
Apart from medal tallies, senior officials have bigger ambitions.
"If Beijing and Zhangjiakou successfully win the bid, it will attract people in these areas, even in neighboring Shanxi and Shandong provinces to take part in winter sports, which means hundreds of millions more people will know more about winter sports," said Yang Shu'an, vice-president of Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games Bid Committee and vice-president of the Chinese Olympic Committee.
"Undoubtedly, it will be a big contribution to the Olympic Movement," he added.
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