Ningbo develops through sports

By Lu Wenao Source:Global Times Published: 2019/1/10 19:14:51

The ‘city of champions’ plans to improve facilities, per capita sports area

Participants run in the 2018 Ningbo Marathon on September 28 in Ningbo, East China's Zhejiang Province. Photo: Courtesy of Ningbo Sports Bureau

Among the runners who participated in the New Year's Day race in Ningbo, 57-year-old Xu Jianyong was proud to have his 23rd run in the city.

"New Year's Day running has become a symbol of Ningbo," said Xu, who only missed the 2009 edition of the race which began in 1984. 

"The event has become a chance to get to know more running pals for me."

The race on January 1 this year in the city of East China's Zhejiang ­Province attracted about 10,000 ­runners, organizers said, the biggest in years.

The city is no stranger to sports, as it has hosted many sports events. ­Riding on the tide of China's reform and opening-up, Ningbo is considered a fast-growing city. And through sports the city has also found a fast way.

Fitness for all

In 2015, the State Council introduced "fitness for all" as a national strategy, pledging to increase the number of people exercising to 500 million and the per capita sports area to 2 square meters by the year of 2025. 

The goal also includes building a 15-minute workout circle in cities, thus providing a workout facility for urban residents within 15 minutes' reach.

In Ningbo, where there is a long tradition of promoting fitness for all, the per capita sports area already tops 2.2 square meters.

The city now plans to provide a sports venue or fitness facility within 10 minutes' reach for all urban residents to encourage more vitality for the residents.

Its sports bureau has set up low-cost sports training programs for the citizens, even if few people play sports like squash.

City of champions 

Thanks to the city's commitment to sports, Ningbo has cultivated several world champions in China's competitive sports pool.

Swimming medley star Wang Shun, who was born in 1994 in the city, finished third at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympic Games. 

At that time, the people standing ahead of him on the podium were US medley great Michael Phelps and Japan's Kosuke Hagino.

At the end of 2018, Wang claimed two gold medals in the FINA short-course world championships. 

Thanks to Wang's popularity, swimming has become a popular choice for citizens in Ningbo - the local sports authority has plans to build eight new detachable swimming pools this year.

Ningbo local Shi Zhiyong, 2016 Olympic gold medalist in weightlifting in the 69-kilogram category, now holds the current world records in the 73-kilogram class for the snatch, clean and jerk and total. 

Shi has five world records in hand after the world weightlifting governing body IWF reorganized the categories in 2018. 

With the city set to host the Asian weightlifting championships in April, Shi said he hopes to give home crowd "something" to cheer about. 

Ningbo also hosts international volleyball events, as it is also one of the national training centers for the medals-collecting Chinese women's volleyball team.

The coastal city, which also harbors several Chinese yachting national team members, will be a partner city to help the provincial capital Hangzhou host the yachting events at the Asian Games in 2022.



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