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)

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Games bid to boost winter sports

Athletes compete in the men's 5000m speedskating event during the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics on Saturday. More Chinese have started to enjoy winter sports after the country announced its bid in November to hold the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Brian Snyder / Reuters

Nation has been active developing facilities for sporting events, report Cui Jia in Urumqi, Xinjiang, and Lei Lei in Sochi, Russia

It is not the winning but the taking part that counts.

The sentiment behind the Olympic ethos can apply just as much for the bidding to host the Games as it does for the actual events, it seems.

When Cheng Hai learned that Beijing and Zhangjiakou will jointly bid for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, the avid ski enthusiast knew that he might soon have world-class ski resorts on his doorstep.

Cheng discovered the joy of winter sports when he started to work some years ago at a snowboard company.

"I sometimes went abroad to ski during vacations, but that was expensive," said Cheng, 34. "I hope the bid will bring more advanced venues and attract greater numbers of people to join us skiing."

Millions of ski fans in China share Cheng's outlook.

Regardless of the success of the bid, to be decided in 2015, the bidding process will benefit the development of winter sports in China.

"Bidding for the Winter Games will boost the popularity of winter sports," Xiao Tian, deputy head of the State General Administration of Sport, told China Daily at the Sochi Games.

"China is a huge country but the development of winter sports still lags behind the summer sports. But the potential and sense of expectation to develop winter sports here is massive."

Beijing, the host of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, announced a plan to jointly bid for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in November, with Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, located 200 km to the northwest of the capital.

Under a plan Beijing bidding committee officials announced on Saturday in Sochi, the MasterCard Center in Beijing will host five winter events as one of the main locations. The center held basketball competitions during the 2008 Games. The opening and closing ceremonies will be held in the National Stadium, often referred to as the Bird's Nest.

The second major venue, according to the bid, will be located in the Xiaohaituo Mountain area of Yanqing county, about 90 km northwest of central Beijing. Temporary venues will be built for the bobsled, luge, skeleton and alpine skiing events.

The rest of the ski sports will be held in Chongli county, Zhangjiakou, which is about 220 km from central Beijing and 130 km from Xiaohaituo Mountain.

Besides the proposed venues, how China actually performs in the Winter Olympics will be an important factor for members of International Olympic Committee to consider, as the Games are traditionally held in the event's powerhouses.

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