Sports / China

Wukesong Arena can hold hockey events, officials say

By Sun Xiaochen (China Daily) Updated: 2015-08-10 07:44

Wukesong Arena can hold hockey events, officials say

The Wukesong Sports Center is 19 kilometers or a 15-minute ride from the Olympic Village and will be the venue for the women's ice hockey competitions. Photo taken on May 16, 2008. [Photo/IC]

Wukesong Arena - host of the 2008 Summer Olympics basketball tournament as well as numerous grassroots basketball events - can easily be transformed into a modern hockey stadium for the 2022 Winter Olympics, the venue operator's general manager said.

Jerry Han, general manager of Bloomage International Wukesong Arena Management Co, said replacing hardwood floors with an ice surface will take only four hours.

"Even before the 2008 Olympics, we had considered hosting skating events as one of the venue's post-Games functions, so an ice-making system was part of the design, and now it will fit in perfectly with Beijing's plan to host the 2022 Winter Games," Han said.

According to Beijing's bid, Wukesong and the National Indoor Stadium, another existing venue used during the 2008 Games, will host the 2022 Olympic hockey events, while another 2008 venue, the National Aquatics Center, the so-called Water Cube, will host the curling competitions.

Operators plan to unveil upgrade and refurbishment plans for the venues in the coming weeks.

The 18,000-seat Wukesong Arena, in western downtown Beijing, is the home stadium for the Chinese Basketball Association's Beijing Ducks. But it also has hosted Artistry on Ice, a world-class figure skating show that has attracted local favorite pair Shen Xue, Zhao Hongbo, Russian ladies' singles Olympic champion Adelina Sotnikova and US popular skater Johnny Weir.

"The recognition of these international star skaters proves that Wukesong is competent to host winter sports festivals even as big as the Olympics," Han said.

After transforming venues to accommodate basketball events, skating shows and music concerts for years, the technical team has proved they can complete the work in less than four hours, Han said.

"Functional zones and services designed mainly for basketball events need to be expanded and streamlined," said Chen Xiaomin, main designer of the Wukesong Sports Center and director of the sports department of Beijing Institute of Architectural Design.

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