2022 Winter Olympic co-host eyes winter sports boom

Shijiazhuang (China), Jan 27 (IANS) China’s Hebei province, which will co-host the 2022 Winter Olympics with Beijing, has unveiled its plan for an anticipated winter sports boom in the next seven years, local media reported Tuesday.

Beijing, together with Zhangjiakou in Hebei province, in July 2015 won the bid to co-host the 2002 Winter Olympics, reports Xinhua.

Hebei’s winter sports development plan (2015-2022) requires each big city in the province to build at least one qualified ice and snow sports venue by 2022 with barrier-free access for the handicapped.

The province will train more winter sports competitors, aiming to have home-grown players compete in the Olympic Games.

Zhangjiakou and Chengdu will develop themselves into ice sport training centres with expansion of a ski training base in Chongli, Zhangjiakou, which will host the cross-country, freestyle and some other skiing events at the 2022 Olympics.

From 2016, Hebei province will spend 50 million yuan ($7.6 million) annually on training management and service staff. By 2022, more than 50 schools in the province will have winter sports programs.

The number of people who participate in winter sports regularly in Hebei is expected to reach 30 million, 40 percent of the province’s population. The ice and snow sports industry in Hebei will reach 100 billion yuan ($15.2 billion) by that time.

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