Not Logged In
Industry news In-depth Data reports Calendars About us Contact us

Ice hockey and skiing popular in Beijing

By CRI English 24 Jan 2015

Ice Hockey and skiing become increasingly popular among the youth in Beijing, as the Chinese capital bids to hold the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

China has become a force at recent Winter Olympics in figure skating, short-track and speed skating and freestyle skiing. 

In other sports like alpine skiing and ice hockey though, it lags far behind.

But those sports are becoming increasingly popular on the back of the Beijing's application to be chosen as host city of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

The bid also fits the goal of President Xi Jinping to encourage 300 million Chinese to take up winter sports by 2022.

Every week, more than 1,500 youths play ice hockey in the capital now.

The young players meet three to five times a week for training also plays one full-contact game on the weekends.

A record 97 teams registered with the Beijing Ice Hockey Association's 2014-15 Youth Hockey League, which play throughout winter and spring.

Yao Naifeng, who took Chinese women's national team to the semi-finals in Nagano Olympics in 1998, is the head coach of Century Star Club.

According to Yao, hockey is not an expensive hobby just for the growing middle class in China.

However, a full outfit for a junior player costs at least 10,000 yuan ($1,600).

And a lack of decent rinks and qualified coaches has made it difficult for the sports to flourish.

Beijing has just five game-standard rinks - far from enough to meet the growing demand.

Meanwhile in Yanqing County, north-west of downtown Beijing, where the alpine skiing and sliding events of the 2022 Winter Games would be held if the bid is successful, an increasing number of school students hit the slopes.

Seven schools in the region have been identified as winter sports special schools which means their students are taking skiing courses in the nearby resorts as a part of P.E. classes for free.

Grade four students who just completed their beginners skiing course, are giving a semester-ending performance at Shijinglong Ski Resort in Yanqing.

According to the Chinese Ski Association, there were fewer than ten thousand skiers in China in 1996, and estimates now put that number above 5 million.

Organisers are hoping that such growing interest will help sell Beijing's bid to hold the Winter Games seven years from now, making the Chinese capital the first city to host both the summer and winter Olympics.

Origianal title by CRI: Beijing Promotes Ice Hockey, Skiing ahead of 2022 Winter Olympics Bid

Please log in to make a comment.