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Retired Olympic hurdler's focus is on winter sports, school PE

By Sun Xiaochen | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-03-04 17:56

Retired Olympic hurdler's focus is on winter sports, school PE

Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang, delegate of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), arrives for the panel discussion, March 4, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

As one of China's most recognized Summer Olympic stars, retired hurdler Liu Xiang said on Saturday that he's picked up winter sports as a hobby.

"Though I knew little about winter events before, I do have a great interest in it now, and I just started learning skiing as a pastime activity," Liu said during the annual session of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

Liu, the gold medal winner in the men's 110m hurdle at the 2004 Athens Olympics, retired in 2015 due to a heel injury, and as a member of the country's top political advisory body, has since shifted his focus on promoting youth sports participation.

With Beijing revving up preparation for the 2022 Winter Olympics, Liu envisions that winter sports will be at the center of the country's mass fitness program.

"With the preparation for the 2022 Olympics progressing, winter sports have been promoted gradually. A lot of primary schools have included winter events in their physical education curriculum, which is a good move," the 33-year-old said.

"The plan to involve 300 million people in winter sports is a challenging one. (To realize it), we should start with ourselves and the children," Liu said.

Following his proposal of placing greater importance on physical education on campus, Liu said this year he will continue urging the country's sports and education authorities to improve the quality of school PE teachers.

"Some of the PE classes are conducted by English, math or science teachers at schools in rural areas of our country due to the lack of qualified PE teachers. How to provide enough resources and funds to support the training of school PE teachers while bridging graduates from professional sports academies to local schools (to become PE teachers) need to be further studied," he said.

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