TIANJIN, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) – In the just-concluded 13th National Games, roller hockey was included for the first time and host Tianjin beat Heilongjiang in women’s final and won the first gold medal in the sport.
Roller hockey, a summer event that has been hardly seen in China but was introduced into the 13th National Games because of Beijing 2022, reflects China’s active preparations for the Games.
Chinese figure skaters are training harder to embrace the upcoming PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. “All skaters must find and solve their problems. The programs, difficulties, footwork and performance must be improved,” said Zhao Hongbo, head coach of the Chinese national figure skating team.
Li Yan, head coach of China’s short track speed skating team, said she is not only targeting PyeongChang 2018 but also Beijing 2022. “We’ve established another team grouping younger short track speed skaters, including 22 boys and 17 girls. They’ve just finished training in Xinjiang. Some of them will definitely represent China in 2022.”
Speed skaters, Alpine skiers, ski jumpers, hockey players, snowboarders are all busy improving themselves, some of them supervised by foreign coaches.
Since Beijing was awarded the 2022 winter Olympics in 2015, President Xi Jinping has reiterated on many occasions that China will facilitate 300 million people to get involved in winter sports and will make the 2022 Games “fantastic, extraordinary and excellent.”
The Games will be of great significance to showcasing China’s national image, accelerating the national development and promoting the national spirit, says Xi.
The city of Qitaihe, in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, has the tradition of cultivating young short track speed skaters.
“We have seven schools dedicated to short track speed skating. Short track speed skating is a compulsory course in our physical education,” said Chen Yan, head of Qitaihe’s Sports Bureau.
A ski track operator named Yu Donglin said China’s ski industry has been developing astonishingly fast in recent years because of Beijing 2022. “My ski track in Chongli District of Zhangjiakou received 220,000 skiers in the 2015/16 season. The number grew 2.5 times compared with the previous season.”
Statistics showed that 113.3 million Chinese people practiced skiing in 2016, 1.73 million or 18 percent more than in 2015.
An artificial dry ski track measuring over 20,000 square meters has been built to the west of Beijing’s Olympic Forest Park, allowing local fans to ski all year round.
“Beijing 2022 is changing Chinese people’s options to practice sports. More and more people are becoming enthusiastic about winter sports. The promotion of winter sports is the precondition for China to become a balanced sports power,” said Wang Bingyu, a leading player of the Chinese women’s curling team.
Beijing 2022 is also a catalyst for the coordinated development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province.
“We’re now using the opportunity of the 2022 Games to improve coordination among Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei for common development. We’ll make sure people in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei can benefit from the promotion of winter sports, the use of sports venues, and the integration of sports and medical services,” said Chen Jie, deputy head of the Beijing Sports Bureau.
Li Dongqi, deputy chief of the Hebei Sports Administration, said the 2022 Games is not only an Olympic sporting event, but also a bigger economic, cultural and social platform for Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei to cooperate.
According to the official statistics, Tianjin absorbed over 2,000 investment projects worth nearly 130 billion RMB (20 billion US dollars) from Beijing and Hebei in the first half of 2017.