CHINA> Regional
Harbin prepares for upcoming Winter Universiade
By Hou Lei (
Updated: 2008-09-23 11:33

Harbin's preparation work for the 24th Winter Universiade is in full swing and many famous Chinese athletes will attend this event next February, according to Guo Mingyu, Deputy Secretary General of the Organizing Committee.

The 24th Winter Universiade, which will be held from February 18 to February 28 in Harbin city of Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, is a high level international sports event held in China after the Beijing Olympics, with about 4,000 participating athletes from more than 50 countries.

"As it is the first time for a Chinese city to hold a high-level international winter games, of course we hope the best qualified Chinese athletes will compete in it," said Guo at a press conference in Harbin last Friday.

"Our sports stars, including speed skater Wang Meng, figure skating pair Zhang Dan and Zhang Hao may be on the name list of Chinese delegation for the Winter Universiade."

According to Guo, the budget for the facilities of upcoming Winter Universiade is about 2.6 billion yuan (US$370 million). Ministries of the central government, relevant departments in Heilongjiang Province and the Harbin municipal government have co-invested in the games.

Currently, Harbin has many qualified winter sports facilities as well as the Yabuli ski resort. Only three more new stadiums for ice sports need to be built in the city to satisfy the needs of the Games.

Among the 47 sports facilities that would have to be built or upgraded, 33 are completed.

The building of a helicopter tarmac at the Yabuli ski resort will be finished at the end of this October. Yabuli ski resort, the biggest of its kind in China, was assigned to hold skiing disciplines in the upcoming games.

More than 3,000 volunteers are going to provide services for this event and 100 of them will also be volunteers from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and Paralympics. Many volunteers will be selected from students of foreign language colleges and medical schools.

Harbin won the bid for the 24th World University Games in 2005. The upcoming games will have 82 disciplines in all, making it the largest Winter Universiade in history.