Children play at the Shijinglong Ski Resort in Yanqing, Beijing, on Jan 21. (Photo/Xinhua)
Yanqing district, one of the three major competition zones for the 2022 Winter Olympics, ramped up efforts to develop winter sports and seek high-quality development of the ice and snow industry, in a bid to better prepare for the upcoming event.
Song Haitian, deputy director of the Yanqing Winter Olympics organizing office, said alpine skiing, bobsleigh, luge and other events will be held in the district during the Winter Games, with about one fifth of all the gold medals to be awarded in Yanqing venues. He added that the district will take this opportunity to create favorable conditions for regional development and build it into a world famous ice and snow city, with the layout of "one axis, two wings, and multiple points."
Song said that Yanqing district is currently working on guidelines and research to promote regional development. During the Games, it will work to ensure the success of the 2022 Winter Olympics, in an effort to promote the city and the district to the world. Yanqing will also take measures to manage the legacy from the Winter Olympics, in a bid to maintain a sustainable development of regional ecology, economy and society. In the future, the district aims to integrate winter sports and tourism, and build itself into a leisure destination all year around.
As the major project of the "one axis" layout, the construction of Beijing's ice sports training base is well underway, according to Ma Zhiyong, deputy director of the Yanqing sports bureau. He said Beijing has also built outdoor skating rinks to meet the needs for public training and education.
The ice sports training base began construction last September, which is expected to complete next May. Located in the central area of Yanqing district, the training base covers 87,000 square meters, and is equipped with a training gymnasium, a teaching management building, and an apartment building for athletes. The gymnasium is composed of six standard ice rinks and eight standard curling tracks and other functions. It will serve as the training base and city-level competition venue for various winter games, including ice hockey, short track speed skating, curling, and figure skating. As of this September, the project has completed 55 percent of the total work, with the main structure and interior decoration finished.
In the meantime, to develop the "two wings," Beijing is also promoting the renovation work of Vanke Shijinglong Ski Resort, Badaling Ski Resort and the launch of Qidi Qiaobo Ice and Snow Town, in a bid to improve the integration of ice and snow industry with other industries.
Currently, Yanqing district is mulling over regulations on funding for sports industry and studying on the prospects of giving policy support to the integration of winter sports and tourism, according to Ma of the Yanqing sports bureau.
Over the past three years, Yanqing has held 27 winter sports games, including four international competitions and eight national competitions. From 2017 to 2018, a total of 14 events covering winter sports competition, public activities and training have been held in the district, receiving about 1,000 athletes from 10 countries including China, Switzerland, and Norway. The number of ice and snow festivals also increased, such as the Yanqing Longqing Gorge Ice Lantern Festival, the Yanqing Ice and Snow Festival, and the Ice and Snow Carnival.
In order to popularize winter sports among the general public and promote the Winter Olympics, Yanqing district has so far hosted 77 Winter Olympics-related lectures, and held winter sports training courses for three consecutive snow seasons, helping tens of thousands of students learn the basics of skiing and ice-skating. Activities to celebrate the World Snow Day, part of the "Bring Children to the Snow" campaign, were hosted in Yanqing in January, attracting more than 700 children to participate. The young participants, including foreign children and children with autism and disabilities, were able to learn about the Winter Olympics and its culture as well as experience skiing.
Yanqing is actively cultivating skiing professionals. With the help from industry professionals, the district produced 23 A-level ski instructors, who are recognized by the International Ski Instructors Association and its 39 member states. Meanwhile, to meet the needs in the district, a ski gear service and maintenance training session was held, featuring top-notch ski instructors and assessment officers.
Yanqing's sports bureau worked with a Swiss company to provide ski trainings, with 24 youngsters receiving the Swiss national ski instructor certification. The sports authorities also organized winter sports teams in the district to carry out various training sessions, and selected 55 athletes to participate in Beijing's first winter sports games.
To further improve the air quality for the 2022 Winter Olympics, Yanqing also ramped up efforts in replacing coal-fired boilers with clean energy sources. Apart from boilers in its two central heating centers in the east and south area, Yanqing has completed the clean energy campaign, with a total of 1,178.2 tons of coal-fired boilers replaced by clean energy sources. After replacing the boilers in its two central heating centers this year, the district will use no coal in heating in its downtown areas.
Meanwhile, the coal-to-clean-energy campaign is also underway in Yanqing's rural areas, with about 10,000 households from 46 villages working on replacing coal with clean energy.