Chinese National Winter Games brings momentum for ski's development in birth place

Source:Xinhua Published: 2016-1-22 21:21:49

Dressed in ethnic costumes with a leather arrow bag on his back, Yerbayer Nikaman moved around elegantly in traditional hide-made skis at the Xinjiang Ice Sports Center, mimicing primitive hunting activities in north Xinjiang.

The inspiration for Nikaman's perofrmance at the opening ceremony of the 13th Chinese National Winter Games on Wednesday came from a rock painting that depicted the nomadic life of ancient Altay residents.

"I'm very proud to be able to show Xinjiang's history of ice sports in front of the whole nation," said Nikaman, a villager who lives in the Altay prefecture.

"I hope more people will come to my hometown to experience the charm of traditional skiing."

According to archaeological findings, skiing originated from Altay more than 1,000 years ago, and for centuries, skiing was a necessary skill for the people who lived in this area. But the skis were made of wood and hide at that time.

"When I was young I often took part in the traditional skiing races," said Behramet Jarkenbek, a Kazak from the Altay prefecture. "What's more, I can make skis with wood and hide by myself."

Despite boasting a long history of skiiing, Xinjiang skiers could hardly challenge their fellow competitors from northeast China's Heilongjiang and Jilin at the ongoing National Winter Games.

Bahdat Jarkenbek, a 17-year-old high-school student from Altay, is making his first appearance at the National Winter Games. He represented Urumqi in the men's giant slalom competition Thursday at the Silk Road ski resort but failed to make the top eight.

"Although I'm from the birth place of skiing, my teammates and I are less competitive than the skiers from Heilongjiang and Jilin," said Bahdat, who started to learn skiing when he was 12.

"Traditional skiing is more about recreation, while modern skiiing requires good techniques," he added.

In Bahdat's hometown, skiing is getting more popular, especially among the teenagers. But most of the students including Bahdat have access to ski training only in winter vacation.

Changes have taken place after Beijing successfully won the bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics. Some schools have begun to conduct PE classes in ski resorts so that more students have regular access to professional instructions. About 5,000 pupils have been offered skiing training this winter at the local General Hill ski resort.

Posted in: Winter Sport

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