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Youth games support 2022 bid

Sun Xiaochen
Updated: Feb 9,2015 7:35 AM     China Daily

A child enjoys skiing at the World Snow Day and International Children’s Skiing Festival at Yuyang Ski Resort in Beijing last month.[Photo/China Daily]

Hundreds of students from across nation to take part in six-day sporting gala in Heilongjiang province

With the host for the 2022 Winter Olympics still to be announced, China is getting more young people involved in winter sports and Olympic education by staging the inaugural national students’ winter games this week.

The capital is bidding jointly with the ski resort city of Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, to host the Winter Olympics. The successful bid will be announced on July 31.

Riding on the back of Beijing’s bid, the 2015 “Future Star” National Sunny Youth Winter Sports Meet, the first of its kind, will open at Jingpo Lake scenic park in Mudanjiang, Heilongjiang province, on Wednesday.

More than 600 students from 31 provinces and municipalities will take part in the six-day winter sports gala.

The event is being organized by the General Administration of Sport of China, the Ministry of Education and the Communist Youth League.

It is aimed at promoting winter sports and Olympic education among 400 million teenagers in China.

Guo Jianjun, director of the sports administration’s juvenile department, told China Daily that while Beijing’s 2022 bid has received wide publicity, hosting the youth games will send a strong message to the world that China is involving young people in its campaign.

“It’s an ideal opportunity to demonstrate how warmly Chinese young people are embracing the Olympic movement to support the bid,” Guo said.

Staged on a snow-covered frozen lake, the sports gala will see students compete in winter sports including five-a-side snow soccer, ice hockey and skating. They will also experience bobsled rides, snowmobile racing and lake fishing.

Educational programs featuring Olympic history, values, exercise skills and knowledge will also be held.

Zhang Hong, the event’s ambassador and an Olympic champion skater, expects the meeting to encourage students to take part in winter sports.

“When I was a child, I was passionate about ice skating and worked hard at it. An interest in sport is the best way to teach and motivate youngsters to take part,” said Zhang, who won China’s first long-track speed skating gold medal in women’s 1,000 meters at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

The gala is also part of the Ministry of Education’s efforts to improve student’s fitness by using school breaks in the winter, when physical education is usually reduced by the weather.

Lu Xun, an official at the ministry’s Physical Education, Health and Arts Department, said, “The event will inspire students to exercise even in winter, and will help them to develop good habits in taking exercise throughout the year.