LAHTI, Finland, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- China's northern city of Zhangjiakou has made a new step forward over the weekend in the preparations for the 2022 Winter Olympics, as it gained full support from Lathi, a city in southern Finland known for snow sports.
The two cities signed a twin-city agreement on Sunday. According to the agreement, the two will develop pragmatic cooperation on developing winter sports, building sports venues, manufacturing winter sports equipment, and facilitating the interaction of related industries.
In addition, the cooperation in the fields of economy, science and technology, tourism, environmental protection and education will be enhanced comprehensively between the two cities. The signing ceremony was held at the Lahti city hall.
Wu Weidong, mayor of Zhangjiakou and director of the Winter Olympics Office in the city, said that both sides have maintained close exchanges in the past two years. The mayors of the two cities signed a "Common Action Plan" in Zhangjiakou in March this year.
At a meeting in May with the Finnish ambassador to China, Jarno Syrjala, Hebei provincial governor Xu Qin offered a proposal to further promote cooperation. Zhangjiakou is gearing up for the 2022 Winter Olympics together with Beijing, and it is necessary for Zhangjiakou to learn from experienced cities like Lahti, especially in the development of winter sports, organization of large-scale events and training of personnel, said Wu.
Pekka Timonen, the mayor of Lahti, noted that 2019 is the Year of Winter Sports between Finland and China, and Lahti hopes to speed up the cooperation with Zhangjiakou. Also on Sunday, the government of Xuanhua District of Zhangjiakou signed an agreement with JK Pro Coaching, a Lahti-based winter sports training company, which will provide training in cross-country skiing and ski jumping among other winter sports activities.
Jani Klinga, CEO of JK Pro Coaching and former head coach of the Finnish national Nordic ski team, told Xinhua that the work will start with the youth athletes in Zhangjiakou. After that, it is possible to bring them to Lahti to use the local skiing facilities for further training. He hoped that the young skiers will become Olympic-level athletes when they grow up. The 2022 Winter Olympics will be held in Beijing and Zhangjiakou.
Zhangjiakou is responsible for staging cross-country skiing, ski jumping, Nordic combined, biathlon, snowboarding and freestyle skiing events. Lahti is famous for its rich sporting tradition, especially in various winter sports. It is the only city in the world to have hosted the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships seven times.