It was the ambitious target the country sought to achieve before the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. It claims it’s done it. Some are sceptical about Chinese claims. NEW
The news is reported in the English language newspaper, China Daily.
China Daily is owned by the Publicity Department of the Chinese Communist Party.
It says a survey suggests 346 million people have taken part in winter sports in some form at least once.
That’s one in four of the Chinese population.
The goal was set in 2015 when Beijing was awarded the Games.
The successful bid led to a growth in the number of ski areas and other winter sports facilities.
The survey was conducted by the government run, National Bureau of Statistics.
It analysed data and information collected from 40,100 respondents from 31 provincial-level regions across China since October.
China Daily claims that, among those polled, 38.4 percent said they participated in winter sports and activities once or twice a year.
70.3 percent got involved for recreation and entertainment, as opposed to other reasons such as fitness, fashion and professional athletics.
“When it comes to snowsports, China has so much potential to make an impact on the recreational and professional sports landscape and the potential to bring the sports to the next level,” Johan Eliasch, President of the International Ski Federation, said.
According to the National Winter Sports Administrative Centre, China had built 803 ski resorts by the end of 2021.
That’s up 317% from the figure in 2015.
“The realisation of the goal should be greatly attributed to the investment in facility development, the education of youth in schools and the improvement of amateur training at the grassroots level,” said Wang Yuxiong, director of the Sports Economics Research Center at the Central University of Finance and Economics.
“Yet this is not the end, but only the beginning for sustainable development of the winter sports sector in China because of the post-Olympics influence and people’s growing demand for a healthier lifestyle and diversified recreational activities.
“Winter sports have it all.”
The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics are due to take place from 4th to 20th February.
The Paralympics are scheduled to follow a month later, from 4th to 13th March.