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Winter sports gets popular among children in China before Beijing 2022

2021/10/12 11:00:49   source:CGTN

Children practice on the rink at the skating oval in Tonghua, northeast China's Jilin Province. /CMG

The approaching 2022 Winter Olympic Games has made winter sports trending all over China. For example, Tonghua City, northeast China's Jilin Province, has added skating into the physical education of middle and primary schools.

A new skating oval was built in September 2020 in Tonghua. It's a standard training venue for professional short-track speed skating and offers both location and equipment for students to practice.

Some 1,000 students from three schools spend two hours at least per day training on ice at the oval. The youngest of them are five and the oldest 10. The local educational bureau will also launch regular winter sports events for students from more schools to attend during winter vacations.

Tonghua has been home to many Chinese winter sports athletes and has a great atmosphere to exercise such sports. "This oval meets the standard to hold international events," said Wang Lei, coach of the oval to China Media Group (CMG). "I'm glad that kids today have so great a venue. Our mission is to find and develop talents for the Beijing Winter Olympics and other major events in the future."

The oval is also open to skaters who exercise it as a hobby. Tonghua has been building a training base for cross-country skiing, alpine ski track and skiing resorts as part of the country's efforts to bring winter sports to 300 million people. Jilin Province has already selected 18 ski runs and skating rinks as training bases for the 2022 Winter Games.

Compared with Tonghua, Chengde City in north China's Hebei Province may not be that cold but has the same passion for winter sports. About 100 days ago, Chengde saw the establishment of its junior ice hockey team. Now it has over 70 members ranging from five to 13 years old.

These children vary a lot in fundamental skills, but they have all been enjoying the sport. They go onto the ice rink twice a week while doing practice on land at other times. The team's coach Yang Huai told CMG that it's important to help children improve fundamentals, learn more about the sport, and fall in love with ice hockey.

The players' parents are convinced it's helpful for the children to refine their character practicing the sport. 

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