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Xi visits winter sports venues to energize plans for Olympics

By SUN XIAOCHEN | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-01-24 04:48

Xi visits winter sports venues to energize plans for Olympics

President Xi Jinping talks to children skiing in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, during a visit to check preparatory work for the 2022 Winter Olympics. Lan Hongguang /  Xinhua

President Xi Jinping urged organizers on Monday to host an extraordinary Winter Olympics in 2022 through rational planning and economic use of resources.

Xi made the remarks during his visit to Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, Beijing's co-host city for the 2022 Games, to listen to a briefing on preparatory work and inspect proposed venue areas around Chongli county.

The president stressed that the organizing committee and involved departments should approach the preparation based on scientific planning in venue design, construction and resource allocation to host a green, open-minded and corruption-free Olympics in a shared manner.

"There should be clear positioning of this region for future development. Rather than developing into a large-scale comprehensive metropolitan area, Chongli should be built into a ski destination with a strong local character," Xi said.

"The post-Olympics operation of the facilities should be considered beforehand, given that many Olympic host cities face challenges with venues left unused after the event," he added.

Beijing, host of the 2008 Summer Olympics, and Zhangjiakou were picked in 2015 to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. Beijing will be the first city to hold both Summer and Winter Games.

During his visit to Genting Ski Resort in Chongli, the proposed venue for snowboarding and freestyle skiing in 2022, Xi received a warm ovation from regular skiers and athletes of China's national freestyle skiing team, who are training at the resort.

Public participation in and the athletic level of winter sports in China remain relatively low, but the 2022 Games will provide the perfect opportunity to boost the sector within five years, Xi said.

Xi also visited the resort's equipment rental area before going outdoors to check venue layouts around the resort.

China is rolling out a national plan inspired by Xi to encourage 300 million people to participate in winter sports and related activities by 2022. Governmental support for developing winter sports has earned positive comments from Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee. Bach said that after meeting Xi in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Jan 18, he feels certain China will be a success in hosting the Games.

"It's obvious that the central government has high expectations in promoting winter sports ... as a new driver for economic growth, while encouraging the public to participate more in sports in general for a healthier nation," said Lin Xianpeng, a sports industry researcher from Beijing Sport University.

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