By Xinhua writers Zhao Yafang, Li Linhai
XINING, Northwest China, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- An increasing number of people and cities in China are starting to participate in winter sports, as the country is on track to engage more of its people in winter sports ahead of Beijing 2022. Qinghai, a province in northwest China with an average altitude of 4058 meters, is tapping its potential in ice and snow resources and developing its winter sports industry.
Located on the Tibetan Plateau, Qinghai is characterized by the typically cold and arid continental plateau climate. The long winter and the lower annual mean temperature here gives Qinghai abundant and unique ice and snow resources, which makes Qinghai advantageous in developing winter sports like skiing and skating.
"Qinghai boasts as ideal natural conditions as northeast China does in developing winter sports, but we started late," said Cai Rangtai, the director of the Qinghai Sports Bureau, "since 2016, we have been holding many winter sports competitions and activities, which are getting more and more popular among the public."
According to the Qinghai Sports Bureau, there are two international sports events, one national competition, and over 30 city activities such as skiing, skating, hiking and mountaineering held annually in Qinghai every winter, which enrich people's lives in winter and popularize new winter sports like figure skating and curling. Ten ski resorts are open to the public now in Qinghai and draw over 200,000 tourists every year.
Around 1,200 skiing enthusiasts participated in the 3rd Qinghai Skiing competition held on December 12 in Haidong city, and about 3,000 spectators watched the Qinghai International Curling Elite event from December 15 to December 21.
"This is my first time watching the curling competition on the spot. I didn't like ice sports before, because few people around me played or talked about ice sports," said Zhu Tianlong, a spectator watching the final of the Qinghai International Curling Elite, "but now ice sports are becoming hot, and I also start to focus on winter sports like ice hockey and curling."
"It is so interesting to watch curling competitions in person. I hope that curling will become popular in China and we common people can play curling one day," he added.
Cai Rangtai said that, though Qinghai is in a remote area, people here are also passionate about winter sports. It is believed that over 350,000 people will take part in the ice and snow activities during this winter.
Cai Rangtai also emphasized that Qinghai expects to hold more sports events and to engage its people to winter sports by introducing new and interesting winter sports.