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Footprint China left on world sports 2014

By Xinhua 29 Dec 2014

The 2nd Summer Youth Olympic Games were held in China's Nanjing in August 2014 and once again the hosts topped the gold tally like they did at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

But this time the organizers also impressed the young athletes from all over the world with a series of well-designed social and cultural events that embodied the slogan of "Share the Games, Share our Dreams".

"These Summer Youth Olympic Games was a resounding success thanks to our wonderful Chinese hosts," said International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach at the closing ceremony.

China's Beijing and Zhangjiakou are now in a joint bid for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, and the successful Youth Olympics in Nanjing are widely seen as a boost to China's chances of landing the Winter Games.

However, the Olympics was not the only highlight of Chinese sports in 2014.

It was a big year for Li Na and Chinese tennis. The trailblazer of Chinese tennis marked herself as one of the best players in the sport after claiming the Australian Open title at the beginning of 2014.

It was the second Grand Slam trophy for the 32-year-old, which means a lot to Chinese sports as well as the WTA world.

"On behalf of the WTA team I congratulate Li Na on her Australian Open title. As one of the extraordinary role models in women's tennis, it's great to see her achieve her goal," said WTA Chairman & CEO Stacey Allaster.

"For several years we have witnessed a strong champion get better each year and this Grand Slam title is a testament to Li's mental toughness and her relentless commitment to learn and improve her game."

China's top snooker player Ding Junhui also achieved a milestone in 2014, as the 27-year-old became No. 1 on the world rankings at the end of the UK Championship, becoming the first Chinese to manage the feat.

"I am very proud," the two-time UK Championship winner said. "It's a great honor as a Chinese to become the world No. 1."

Li and Ding are not the only Chinese athletes to make breakthrough in 2014. Weightlifter Liao Hui swept the men's 69kg category gold medals at the World Championships and also broke the snatch and overall world records.

Female skater Zhang Hong ended China's long time wait to win the first skating Olympic gold for China in the Sochi Games. And Yang Haoran, an 18-year-old shooter, managed to cruise to the top podium at the Youth Games, Asian Games as well as the World Championships.

At the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, China reaped 151 gold medals to extend their dominance to the ninth games.

And China is not satisfied with success only in competitions.

The country's State Council in October announced plans to develop the sports industry in one of the largest markets in the world and set a goal to raise the sector's annual output to five trillion yuan (some 810 billion US dollars) by 2025.

According to the State Council, China will support the emerging sector by eliminating regulations that hinder the sector's development, scrapping unreasonable administrative approval procedures and encouraging social capital to invest in the industry, including construction of sports facilities and providing sports-oriented products and services.

It will also expand the opening up of the sector by encouraging foreign capital to invest in the domestic sports industry.

Liu Fumin, director of the sports economy division of China's Sports Administration, said the moves will unleash creativity and vigor of social capital, boost the sports sector's growth and stimulate demands for sports, leisure and fitness.

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