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Beijing opens free winter sports center for residents

(Xinhua)    08:52, July 02, 2019

BEIJING, July 1 (Xinhua) -- With less than 1,000 days to go before the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, a newly-developed center for winter sports promotion in Beijing has become a popular attraction for community residents.

The underground center, the first of its kind in Xicheng District, covers an area of 800 square meters, comprising five parts for smart skiing, VR skiing on ski simulators, children's rock climbing, a Beijing local indigenous ice sport "bingcuqiu", as well as an exhibition of Winter Olympic culture.

Since it opened on May 22, the Baizhifang Ice and Snow Experience Center has hosted more than 1,000 visitors from the Baizhifang subdistrict. Local residents book free tickets through community staff.

"The experience center is very convenient for children to gain simple knowledge of winter sports," said Mi Tao, a resident who took his eight-year-old son to the center for the first time.

The Baizhifang winter sports experience center inside a neighborhood was previously shabby rental rooms. Due to safety concerns, the local government closed the rental rooms.

"The subdistrict had been looking for a place to build a winter sports venue. The size of this emptied place is suitable and we decided to build the center after sports experts assessed the site," said Ge Li, deputy director of the subdistrict office.

"The long-term experience center makes ice and snow sports closer to people as many residents like them," he said, adding that "the traditional 'bingcuqiu' sport fits both children and the elderly."

With sports equipment, coaches and barrier-free facilities, the center attracts as many as 100 residents a day. With government investment, the center is operated by a private non-profit organization.

"The center is for public welfare, but we must first ensure the safety of all participants. Workers are available at each sports experience site to offer help and instruction," said Sun Xueyu, a female worker at the center.

According to her, the center may adjust the variety of sports according to the demands of residents in the future. Winter sports lectures and classes for children will also be organized.

As part of the efforts to brace for the 24th Winter Olympics, China is aiming to encourage 300 million people in the country to participate in winter sports.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Kou Jie, Bianji)

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