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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Asian Winter Games boosts China’s winter sports amid heatwaves after Beijing 2022


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Harbin: The influence of the Asian Winter Games is evident in the northeastern region of China’s enthusiasm for winter sports, even during summer.

Despite outdoor temperatures exceeding 30 degrees Celsius, 11-year-old Wang Weizhen is comfortable in his cotton coat. His secret to enduring the sweltering heat originates from the “large indoor refrigerator” in Harbin, situated in China’s northeastern Heilongjiang Province.

The “large indoor refrigerator” is an air-dome ice rink encompassing 1,800 square meters, satisfying the athletic needs for ice hockey, speed skating, and figure skating. Harbin Ming Jiang Ice Sports Center operates this air-dome ice rink.

“After Harbin was chosen to host the 2025 Asian Winter Games, more children are participating in winter sports,” remarked Du Bingyang, a coach at the center.

Harbin was selected by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) to host the 2025 Asian Winter Games this past Saturday. This will be the city’s second hosting of the Asian Winter Games, following its first stint in 1996. Harbin’s winning bid trails Beijing’s successful organization of the Winter Olympic Games in 2022.

“I’ve been playing ice hockey for over a year now, and I want to participate in the Asian Winter Games when I grow up,” Wang Weizhen disclosed. His motivation to play ice hockey sprouted from the Beijing Winter Olympic Games.

Within Harbin, ten air-dome ice rinks are scattered across the city, providing local teenagers with training grounds for ice sports.

China’s national observatory on Wednesday renewed a yellow alert due to the blistering heatwaves scorching vast parts of the country. With daytime temperatures in Harbin topping 30 degrees Celsius on Thursday, the air-dome ice rinks’ parking lots were jam-packed. Numerous parents were seen bringing sports equipment and their children to enjoy the refreshing chill offered by winter sports.

Beyond skating, the “BONSKI” indoor ski resort in Harbin is also experiencing heightened popularity this summer. The resort boasts eight ski slopes with varying gradients, the highest vertical drop being 80 meters, accommodating thousands of simultaneous skiers.

“The temperature on the snow field remains at a steady minus 5 degrees Celsius throughout the year, providing ideal conditions for year-round skiing,” mentioned Guan Liang, general manager of the “BONSKI” indoor ski resort.

Being the northernmost capital city in China, Harbin’s icy winter climate has earned it the moniker “ice city” and fostered a rich history of ice and snow sports. The upcoming Asian Winter Games are set to provide new growth opportunities for the city and stimulate the rapid development of its ice and snow economy.

“With the successful bid for the Asian Winter Games, Harbin will enter a period of accelerated development driven by the Asian Winter Games,” asserted Ke Yunnan, Deputy Secretary General of the Harbin Municipal Government.

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