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China's National Winter Games closes with a bang

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-02-28 09:09
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The China's National Winter Games' flag is lowered during the closing ceremony of the China's 14th National Winter Games in Hulun Buir, North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region, Feb 27, 2024. [Photo/Xinhua]

HOHHOT -- The flame of China's 14th National Winter Games in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region has been extinguished, bringing down the curtain on its premier winter sports gala following Beijing 2022.

After all the medals have been decided, the closing ceremony was held on Tuesday night at a fully packed theater of Inner Mongolia's Hulunbuir, where the passion still lingers from the Winter Games that features over 3,000 athletes competing in 176 events.

Gao Zhidan, director of the General Administration of Sport of China, declared the closing of the Games, calling it "a splendid, cooperative, people-centered and economical ice and snow event."

He noted that the Games has helped cultivate competitive sports talents and further fostered the overall improvement of ice and snow sports in China.

A total of 35 delegations across the nation have participated in the Games, and 30 of them, including southern provinces like Guangdong and Jiangsu, tallied medals. Both figures enjoyed significant increases compared to the last edition.

The next Games will be held in northeast China's Liaoning Province in 2028. And its capital Shenyang will become the first Chinese city to host both the National Games and the National Winter Games.

For many elite athletes, including Olympic champion Su Yiming and Gao Tingyu who bagged golds again at the Games, it has served as a crucial preparatory stage before forging ahead to the 2026 Milano-Cortina Winter Olympics.

And the momentum will be well-maintained, as Zhang Xin, an official with the General Administration of Sport of China, said they will start to tune up for the 2026 Winter Olympics immediately after the National Games concludes.

"We will take the National Games as an opportunity to intensify policy reform and adopt measures to better prepare for the 2026 Winter Olympics, promote wider participation in winter sports and foster further development of the winter sports industry," Zhang said.

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