Shanghai Olympic Qualifier Series to bring new experience for fans

(Xinhua) 11:04, May 15, 2024

Cui Chenxi of China in action during the women's semifinal at the Street Skateboarding World Championships 2023 in Tokyo, Japan, Dec. 16, 2023. (Xinhua/Zhang Yiyi)

SHANGHAI, May 14 (Xinhua) -- China is an incredibly important part of world sport and Shanghai has an environment conductive to hosting international sport events, said International Olympic Committee (IOC) sports director Kit McConnell.

McConnell made the remarks during an online media roundtable on Tuesday prior to the Olympic Qualifier Series (OQS) in Shanghai, adding that the Chinese metropolis will be "an outstanding host" over the coming weekend.

"When we look at China, it's an incredibly important part of world sport, building on the hosting of the Olympic Winter Games in 2022 and a number of events across nearly all olympic sports," said McConnell.

"In a city of around 30 million people with a huge young population, I think it's a celebration of international sport in a certainly international sport hosting environment [in Shanghai]."

"Reaching out to and engaging with the young audiences around the world has been a very clear part of the innovations related to the Olympic program," McConnell noted. "What we've done is add to the more traditional sports by bringing in some of these really youth focused sports and disciplines that we'll see in Shanghai and Budapest."

Running from May 16 to 19, a total of 464 athletes, evenly divided between men and women, will compete in BMX freestyle cycling, breaking, skateboarding, and sport climbing at the newly-renovated Huangpu Riverside venue.

Luo Zhilu of China in action during the women's lead event at the IFSC World Cup Wujiang 2024 in Suzhou, east China's Jiangsu Province, April 14, 2024. (Photo by Wang Xuzhong/Xinhua)

Along with the second leg in Budapest from June 20 to 23, the inaugural OQS is the last chance for athletes to vie for over 150 quota places for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

"In terms of the selection of the four sports, the community atmosphere, the individual expression, the music, the culture that comes along with these four sports and disciplines fit well together," McConnell explained.

"With breaking [in Paris], it allows us to put together the qualification systems in a different way than the sports that have been in the program for a long time and have really established international calendars," he added.

On top of the competitions, the Shanghai OQS will incorporate various fan-engagement activities that are specific to each of the four sports featured. These activities are intended to enhance the spectator experience at the event, fostering greater interaction and enjoyment for attendees.

According to Pierre Fratter-Bardy, Olympic Games Strategy & Development Associate Director, "a very new olympic experience for fans" can be expected in Shanghai, with dance show, fashion show and a big concert lining up during the OQS.

"You can spend the whole day with one ticket. You get to see all sports and you get to experience the festival. So this is really something absolutely new that we've been designing for them, for fans at the forefront," he added.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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