— President Xi Jinping has championed China’s drive of getting 300 million individuals concerned in winter sports activities.
— The 2022 Winter Olympics has develop into a catalyst to advertise sustainable financial progress not solely in Beijing however in areas surrounding the capital.
— Beijing 2022 serves as a bridge of solidary and cooperation.
By sportswriters Gao Peng, Wang Meng and Su Bin
BEIJING, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) — A puck zips across the rink so shortly that it is laborious to maintain up. Carrying a full-body swimsuit, Bahe Dana is able to dive, slide, and leap again up right into a prepared stance at a second’s discover.
At an outside rink in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Area, 8-year-old Bahe Dana is studying the right way to play ice hockey goalie. “I like this recreation as a result of it is cool to play and you will get to ice skate,” says Bahe, one of many first technology in China to develop up with ice hockey.
Winter sports activities in China was as soon as thought-about a overseas and unaffordable pastime, however because of a drive initiated by President Xi Jinping, extra at the moment are taking to ice rinks and ski slopes.
A PROMISE MADE TO THE WORLD
On July 31, 2015, the Worldwide Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded the 2022 Winter Olympics to Beijing, making the Chinese language capital the primary metropolis to host each the Summer season and Winter Video games.
Xi appeared on tv hours earlier than IOC members forged their votes to personally assure a “incredible, extraordinary and wonderful Olympic Winter Video games.”
“The 2022 Olympic Winter Video games, if held in China, will enhance exchanges and mutual understanding between the Chinese language and different civilizations of the world, encourage greater than 1.3 billion Chinese language to interact in winter sports activities with curiosity and keenness, and provides them one more alternative to assist advance the Olympic motion and promote the Olympic spirit,” mentioned Xi.
A protracted-time sports activities fan, Xi as soon as identified that sport is a crucial manner to enhance individuals’s well being and fulfill their aspirations for a greater life.
That explains why he has pledged to get greater than 300 million Chinese language individuals on skis and skates, and why well being has been integrated into Beijing’s second Olympic journey.
To make snowboarding extra accessible to the general public, lots of of latest services are being constructed. 5 years in the past there have been solely 460 ski resorts in China, however by the tip of 2019, that determine had jumped to 770, in response to a white paper on China’s winter sports activities trade.
Some 2,000 major and secondary faculties throughout the nation had included winter sports activities of their curriculum by the tip of 2020.
Throughout Xi’s newest go to this month to Beijing’s Yanqing District, he underscored the 2022 Video games’ function in growing China’s winter sports activities, particularly snow sports activities, and expressed his hopes that internet hosting the Winter Olympics would contribute to China’s purpose of turning into a world sporting energy.
“With these 300 million individuals partaking in winter sports activities, we are able to clearly say the historical past of winter sports activities will probably be one earlier than Beijing 2022 and one after the Winter Video games in Beijing. So it is actually a landmark occasion for the worldwide growth of winter sports activities,” mentioned IOC president Thomas Bach.
GAMES SPUR LONG-TERM DEVELOPMENT
Simply as China used the 2008 Summer season Olympics to push its financial and social growth, Xi additionally intends to make use of the 2022 Video games as a catalyst to advertise sustainable financial progress not solely in Beijing, however in areas surrounding the capital.
The 2022 Winter Olympics will function a driving power for coordinated growth in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province, Xi famous throughout an inspection tour to Zhangjiakou 4 years in the past.
This promise is in step with the IOC’s Olympic Agenda 2020, which goals to make the Olympic Video games match into the long-term growth plan of a metropolis and area.
To the delight of the IOC and Xi, the 2022 Video games have already had an necessary impact on sustainable growth in Beijing and its neighboring areas.
Chongli was as soon as a particularly poor county in Zhangjiakou with a restricted agricultural revenue. In 2015, 16.8 p.c of the 100,000 residents on this county have been classed as residing beneath China’s nationwide poverty line.
However this mountainous city, the place many of the 2022 Winter Olympics’ snow occasions will probably be staged, has been reworked right into a skier’s paradise because of booming tourism. In 2019, the New York Occasions named Chongli as considered one of 52 ski locations value visiting.
In Might 2019, Chongli was formally lifted out of poverty. Practically 30,000 of its 126,000 inhabitants are employed by ski resorts or associated firms and organizations.
Due to the Beijing-Zhangjiakou high-speed rail hyperlink that opened on the finish of 2019, it took Xi lower than 50 minutes to cowl the 200 kilometers between the 2 cities throughout his newest inspection tour, a visit he flew 4 years in the past when he final inspected the Beijing 2022 co-host metropolis.
AN ECO-FRIENDLY & ECONOMICAL GAMES
Value management, particularly regarding environmental prices, has develop into an necessary problem for the organizers of any Olympics within the fashionable age.
Throughout his first go to to Zhangjiakou in 2017, Xi harassed that building tasks shouldn’t be extravagant, and that their follow-up makes use of needs to be considered.
For Beijing 2022, a vital resolution has been the reuse of venues from the 2008 Summer season Olympics.
The enduring ‘Water Dice’ swimming venue from 2008 has now develop into the ‘Ice Dice,’ a premier curling venue. In Beijing 2022’s Shougang competitors zone, world-class services have been repurposed from a disused metal plant that used to exist on the positioning.
A robust deal with sustainability may also be discovered all through earlier years.
The 2022 Video games are the primary to harness waste carbon dioxide to create ice surfaces.
As well as, in the course of the venue building within the Yanqing competitors zone, defending species range on the two,000 meter-high mountain was a high precedence. All bushes inside the zone have been registered and had their profiles marked with a QR code. Short-term migration paths have been additionally constructed for native animals.
China’s dependable dedication to sustainability has received reward from observers.
Bach proclaimed that Beijing 2022 can “set a brand new benchmark for a sustainable Olympic Video games.”
That was echoed by Worldwide Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Andrew Parsons, who mentioned Beijing is “taking the lead on sustainability in an effort to create a brand new mannequin for the Olympic and Paralympic Video games.”
BRIDGE OF SOLIDARITY & COOPERATION
“Uphold the Olympic spirit, advance peace and growth,” learn the message by President Xi, who has devoted himself to boosting world concord and cooperation by means of sport.
Throughout President Xi’s state go to to Finland in 2017, he and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto agreed to designate the yr of 2019 because the China-Finland Yr of Winter Sports activities, which was described as “a historic type of cooperation for each nations.”
In June 2018, Xi and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin watched an ice hockey pleasant match between Chinese language and Russian youth groups in northern China’s metropolis of Tianjin.
Calling the sport an illustration of friendship between the Chinese language and Russian teenagers, Xi advised Putin that China is prepared to work with Russia on exchanges and cooperation in sports activities similar to ice hockey.
With many countries feeling remoted and the world nonetheless grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, China’s endeavor of selling the Olympic very best of common solidarity might help to attract the world again collectively.
“We want this solidarity to have the ability to tackle the nice challenges of humankind. There may be not solely the virus and possibly future well being challenges. That is a few sustainable growth in a holistic manner,” mentioned Bach.
(Xinhua correspondents Ji Ye, Zhang Xiaosong, Zhu Jichai additionally contributed to the story. Video reporters: Liu Chunhui, Wang Hui, Wu Yao, Li Dexin, Xia Zilin, Qu Lanjuan, Zhang Shuo, Xia Yong, Dong Qianqi, Xiao Zhengqiang, Zhang Ruoxuan, Zheng Kaijun, Li Jizhi, Ma Xiaodong, Zhao Wanwei, Fang Jinyang, Zhang Chenlin, Yin Jiajie; Video editors: Gao Shang, Chen Sihong)
Produced by Xinhua World Service