Triumphant Shanxi looks to golden era in winter sports
Enthusiasts hit the slopes with gusto at a ski resort in Pingshun county, Shanxi province, on Jan 3. [Photo/Shanxi Daily]
Shanxi teenager Su Yiming became China's youngest Winter Olympic champion in the men's snowboard big air final at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics on Feb 15 – also winning Shanxi province's first ever Winter Olympics gold.
Since 2019, Shanxi has taken advantage of every opportunity brought about by the successful bid for the Beijing Winter Olympics to develop its winter sports and made big efforts to cultivate more skilled youngsters who dazzle at them.
Due to local geography, climate and sports tradition, Shanxi on the Loess Plateau was once lacking in professional venues for winter sports.
However, the province has so far built over 50 winter sports venues with a total area of 2.64 million square meters, two standard skating halls which can be used for skating training and competitions, and several ski resorts suitable for basic training.
Over the past two years, Shanxi has continuously introduced winter sports talent, including the young snowboard superstar Su from Jilin province, and has formed professional teams.
After years of hard work, the development of winter sports in Shanxi is said to have really begun to take shape. Professional teams for winter sports – such as snowboarding, alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, the biathlon and curling – have been established. Moreover, there are more than 200 athletes now in training and seven professional coaches.
According to Huang Haihong, director of Shanxi Winter Sports Center, the province has been improving the training level of its winter sports teams, cultivating outstanding athletes with strong competitiveness in domestic and international competitions, and going for more breakthroughs, to extend its overall strengths in winter sports.
The layout of Shanxi's winter sports is also spreading to local primary and middle schools.
Currently, the province has established six school reserve talent centers, as well as second-tier sports teams in local cities, to further expand the training of young talented people.
"Universities, primary and middle schools, ice and snow venues and clubs in the province have established over 20 reserve talent centers and training centers for winter sports," Huang added.
Moving forwards, Shanxi Winter Sports Center is expected to expand its cooperation with schools at all levels, as well as winter sports venues and clubs, to extend Shanxi's leapfrog development in the field.