Beijing sees robust development in winter sports

BEIJING, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- Beijing has seen robust development in winter sports as it makes preparations for hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

Sun Xuecai, a member of the Beijing Municipal Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said Beijing is striving to promote ice hockey, and engaging a growing number of young people in winter sports.

A total of 2,554 young athletes participated in ice hockey matches last year, said Sun, the former director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sports.

According to a guideline to advance winter sports in Beijing, 8 million people in Beijing are expected to participate in winter sports by 2022.

Beijing has established special associations for ice hockey, curling, ice skating, and skiing, Sun said.

Beijing has 37 indoor skating rinks, 53 outdoor skating rinks, and over 20 ski resorts. It hosted the World Winter Sports Expo in 2018. The capital has also made plans to advance the winter sports industries in the Beijing-Hebei-Tianjin region, he said.

China's first freestyle skiing world champion Li Nina, also a member of the committee, said Beijing has 100 schools that offer winter sports classes.

By the end of last year, over 460,000 students in primary and middle schools in Beijing had tried at least one winter sport, she said.

The revenue of Beijing's winter sports industries is expected to grow to 40 billion yuan (about 5.8 billion U.S. dollars) in 2022.