Li Ning statue unveiled in Montreux

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/6/9 21:28:39

China's gymnastic icon Li Ning poses with his statue in Montreux, Switzerland on Thursday. Photo: Xinhua

The city of Montreux, Switzerland unveiled a statue of China's gymnastic icon Li Ning on Thursday, as the two countries boost exchanges in the year dubbed "China-Switzerland Tourism Year."

Li Ning, a multi-medalist who won the maiden Arthur Gander Memorial - an event held in memory of former International Gymnastics Federation president Arthur Gander - 32 years ago in Montreux, was at the scene for the statue-inauguration ceremony.

"It's an honor to be here. The enthusiasm the Swiss people showed in sports has impressed me," said Li, who is nicknamed Prince of Gymnastics in China. "I hope my experience in sports could boost the exchanges in sports between the two countries."

China has concluded a cooperation agreement with the Swiss sports body for the 2020 Youth Olympic Winter Games in Lausanne and the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing.

"Beyond the sporting aspect, Li Ning is an extremely well-known personality in China," Philippe Leuba, a state councilor and head of the department of economy and sport of local canton of Vaud, was quoted as saying by the Tribune de Geneve newspaper on Thursday.

"He acts as an ambassador, conveying a very positive image of the city of Montreux and the winter sport in Switzerland to the Chinese media."

Li is not the only celebrity to have a statue on the quays of Montreux, as it also houses statues of Freddie Mercury, lead vocalist of music band Queen, and comic icon Charlie Chaplin.

June 8, 2017 (Thursday) also marks the 150th anniversary of the Swiss Federation of Gymnastics.


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