Foreign aid provides crowning touch to Harbin Universiade
Updated: 2009-02-19 18:11

MAOERSHAN -- Seeing the sun-tanned Italian busy working on the snowcapped hill with his shovel, one could hardly believe he was actually in a remote town of Northeast China.

However, the scenes that foreign experts racing against time to ensure smoothness of competitions were everywhere at the ongoing Winter Universiade.

Claudio Fabbri, a professional coach and technical director from Courmayeur, a famous ski resort in northern Italy, came here early this month to guide his Chinese counterparts to shape the snowboard cross course.

"The slope here is well built but it still needs some adjustment." said the 34-year-old Italian, who once gained fame by steering his local school team to storm into the snowboard European Cup.

Claudio said the competition level was mixed at the Universiade, in which some top athletes, like the European Cup winners and some students in medium level could race together onto the roller-studded slope.

"Under this condition, I have to watch and test the slope to make sure each roller and bank placed at the proper position. Then the skiers could race much better and get safety reassurance." added the Italian.

With two-week shaping work, Claudio and his fellows fixed all the obstruction precisely onto the 1409-meter slope, which would stage the snowboard cross event to be kicked off on Friday.

The Italian's effort was highly praised by competitors and also by Chinese technical staff.

"The slope here was nice and professional. It was nearly the same to the ramp when I was skiing in Euro Cup." said Georgina from New Zealand after her training.

"The course was better and better day by day. We just give our remarks to directors after each training and they will make some corrections." said Vaclav, a snowboarder from Czechic.

Ma Xiqiang, a Chineses course referee and technical official told journalist that lacking experience and technique was the reason why a large number of foreign sports experts were hired by the host city to maintain the venues.

"Some snow events have strict demands to the course. For example, the angle and grade of slope must be certificated by the Internationa Ski Federation (FIS)," said Ma.

"The snow sport just started in our country several years ago. We have few technical staff in this area so we have to seek the technical aid from FIS." he added.

An Linbin, deputy secretary-general of the Chinese Ski Association, told Xinhua that many sports venues and facilities of the Universiade on snow were designed and built by foreign technical experts, including half-pipe course, time machine and even safety net around the slope.

"Chinese athletes just started to engage in some snow sports in recent years. It's common for us to seek aid and learn from these experts. Along this process, our snow sport and industry can gradually have an overall improvement." said An.

An's remarks were echoed by the governing body of the Universiade, the International University Sports Federation. Milan Augustin, a delegate from FISU and the director of the ongoing 24th Universiade, which opened on Wednesday night, said the corporation was mutually beneficial to each side.

"When a sport starts in a country, everybody is lack of information and experience. Snow sport in China is like this. So we try to help you with experience from FISU and FIS as much as possible," said Mialn.

"With both side's work, I believe an appreciated Winter Universiade could be shown to the world and China can also profit from it with more experience. Besides, it can help develop the snow sport around the country." he added.