As the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 come to an end, their already impressive legacy of engaging millions of people across China in winter sports is set to continue. Two agreements signed recently are aimed at ensuring a lasting presence for curling and sliding sports in the country, and the continued use of Beijing 2022 facilities.
Yanqing Sliding Centre
Over the next five years, the Yanqing Sliding Centre will host World Cup races, Asian Cup races and training camps. This decision is the result of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed on the day of the Beijing 2022 Closing Ceremony between the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) and representatives of the Chinese Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association, Yanqing District, the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sports and the Beijing Enterprises J.O Construction Co., Ltd.
“During the past six years, we have worked very closely with the various stakeholders to prepare not just the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 but also the post-Games use. Our shared vision was to leave a strong legacy for this outstanding facility, which will serve for top elite-level sports and at the same time for tourism purposes. With today´s MoU, we accomplished the vision which will now come into action,” said IBSF President Ivo Ferriani.
The first venue of its kind in China, the Yanqing Sliding Centre hosted the Beijing 2022 bobsleigh, luge and skeleton competitions. Its development was part of a broader ambition to turn Yanqing into an all-year tourist destination, leveraging the Beijing 2022 venues and their proximity to the Great Wall of China, and creating broader socio-economic benefits for the local communities.
Already in 2019, Yanqing District welcomed over 17 million tourists, which drove revenue of more than RMB 1 billion. Between 2015 and 2019, preparations for the Games drove a 35.2 per cent growth in disposable per capita income in the area.
Another agreement is aimed at ensuring the further development of curling in China.
A Letter of Intent signed between World Curling, the Chinese Curling Association and the Beijing State-owned Assets Management Co. – owners of the National Aquatics Centre — foresees the establishment of a World Curling Academy Training Centre within the facility, making it an important part of the Beijing 2022 legacy. As part of the agreement, World Curling Academy courses and materials will also be used to train educators and further develop the sport throughout the country.
The World Curling Federation President, Kate Caithness, said of the agreement: “I am delighted to sign this letter of intent, which confirms the commitment to the curling legacy of the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. “We have witnessed our sport played at the highest level in an iconic location, and know that this is just a step on the journey in the growth of our sport here in China. Beijing State-owned Assets Management have shown their commitment to curling with their new permanent curling facility, which will allow many more Chinese people to experience, learn and enjoy the sport of curling. China has the potential to be one of the biggest curling nations in the world, and the coaches and officials who will be trained at this centre will help build and promote the foundations of that growth.”
The iconic “Water Cube”, which hosted the swimming, diving and synchronised swimming competitions at the Olympic Games Beijing 2008, the National Aquatics Centre, is now able to switch between ice and water. Over the past two weeks, it has been in the spotlight as the “Ice Cube”, as it hosted the Beijing 2022 curling competitions.
The centre is also one of four Beijing 2022 ice venues to use innovative, natural carbon dioxide cooling technology, reducing energy consumption, waste discharge and carbon emissions.
Following Beijing 2022, the venue will continue to host ice sports, as well as swimming events and large cultural performances, offering both multi-purpose and long-term use.
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