China encourages its people to participate in winter sports in preparation for the Winter Olympics 2022. (Photo : Getty Images)
Years ahead of the Winter Olympics 2022, the Chinese government is intensifying its efforts to develop various winter sports in the country.
In a report by the Xinhua News Agency, China is said to be eyeing to encourage around "300 million people in the country to participate in winter sports."
In line with this target, the Xinjiang Sports Administration has rolled out different measures to create a people-friendly environment for winter sports. The northwestern region is known for areas rich with ice and snow.
According to the article, the Silk Road Resort has seen a 30-percent year-on-year increase in its number of visitors last the 2017 Spring Festival, reaching the 42,000-mark.
In Xinjiang, local officials are also making efforts to build more venues for sports such as freestyle skiing, cross-country skiing and ski jumping.
Apart from this, the region is slated to host "Stars of the Future," a gathering that aims to "stimulate youngsters' interest in and passion for winter sports."
Heilongjiang, a northeast province considered as one of the pioneers of winter sports in China, hosted the meeting's 2017 edition. This year's "Stars of the Future" attracted a total of 37 delegations from various regions and provinces in the country.
For Liu Fumin, director for youth sports at China's State General Administration of Sports, the convention "is a great platform to encourage children to take up winter sports."
Meanwhile, Chinese capital and Winter Olympics 2022 co-host Beijing have also initiated a plan to boost the popularity of the said sports, including introducing more winter sports curricula in different academic institutions.
"Winter sports in schools had their day years ago in Beijing, but by 2022 we will bring it back to schools," Wang Jun, an official with the Beijing Municipal Education Commission, remarked.
By 2020, China aims to have over 2,000 schools, located in developed and underdeveloped areas, with a prominent winter sports curriculum. The target is set at 5,000 for 2025.
As for the national sports governing bodies, officials have stated their commitment to helping the country reach its aim regarding winter sports. Director for Public Sports Liu Guoyong enthused that they "will work hard to carry out the five-year (2016-2020) plan on public fitness, and pledge efforts to introduce winter sports to the public."
"We made a commitment to bring 300 million people into the fold of winter sports in our bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics. We are now on the right path, but the task will take patience, hard work and require the whole society to collaborate," Yang Yang, China's first Winter Olympic champ, stressed out.