First batch of 14th National Winter Games tickets on sale
Country on fast track for ice/snow sports devt: expert
Published: Jan 03, 2024 10:55 PM
Skiers start their first skiing tour of the winter at the Tiandingshan Ski Resort in Changchun, Northeast China's Jilin Province, on November 11, 2023. Located in the golden latitude zone of ice and snow, Jilin is one of the three major powder snow bases in the world. There are 75 ski resorts of different sizes in the province. Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Tickets for China's 14th National Winter Games went on sale on WeChat on Tuesday as people in the host city in North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region are inviting visitors from around the world to participate in a multitude of winter sports and tourism activities. 

The first batch of online tickets sales, which run until Friday, covers curling (junior group), speed skating (public group) and short track speed skating (junior group). These events will be held in the Inner Mongolia Ice Sports Training Center in Hulun Buir, which will host the opening ceremony of the games.

The prices of tickets vary between 80 yuan ($11.30) and 180 yuan. The much-anticipated speed skating (public group) will begin on Thursday.

The second batch of online ticket sales for figure skating (junior group) will go on sale from Saturday to January 15. Offline ticket sales will start from January 9 at competition venues around the autonomous region. 

More than 3,700 athletes will participate in the games, which is scheduled from February 17 to 27, making this the largest national winter games in history. 

As the first large-scale winter multi-sport event following the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, the quadrennial games, whose events are aligned with the Milan-Cortina 2026 Winter Olympic Games, consist of eight categories, 16 sub-categories, and 176 minor events.

Olympic champions Wu Dajing and Su Yiming are among the star-studded list to compete for gold medals representing their provincial delegations. Short track speed skaters Liu Shaoang, Liu Shaolin and Lin Xiaojun will make their debut at the national games since transferring to China in recent years. 

Thanks to the growing popularity of winter sports across the country, several southern provinces and regions, such as Sichuan, Chongqing, and Guangdong, have established their winter sports teams for the games for the first time in history.

The games is the latest effort to expand the milestone achievement of the Beijing 2022 Winter Games, which has attracted "300 million people to participate in winter sports."

The coming games is sure to fuel mass participation in winter sports, especially for people from southern China and inject fresh impetus into the development of the sports industry in Inner Mongolia, Xu Jie, a Beijing-based sports commentator, told the Global Times.

"Beijing 2022 has put the country on the fast track for winter sports development and the upcoming domestic and international events will surely help maintain that momentum. The games in Inner Mongolia will have a lasting impact on the regional sports industry, and local residents will enjoy this rich legacy," Xu noted. 

To welcome visitors to the national games and boost the public's participation in winter sports, a wide range of ice and snow activities are in full swing in Inner Mongolia. 

The 20th Ice and Snow Nadam held in Hulun Buir has attracted tens of thousands of visitors from Russia, Mongolia and Malaysia despite severe cold weather, the Xinhua News Agency reported. The event, which features archery, horse racing, wrestling and cultural exhibition, will run until March.

Meanwhile, over 400 athletes from 19 provinces and autonomous regions across the country have been invited to participate in grassroots winter games next week in Inner Mongolia's capital city of Hohhot. 

More than 200,000 students from 300 schools in the autonomous region are regular participants of ice and snow sports, according to a report released by local government of Inner Mongolia in December.

Taking advantage of the winter games and leveraging its ice and snow resources, Hulun Buir has launched 10 winter tourism routes and two cross-border tourism routes. The city will also hold 161 cultural and tourism activities such as an ice and snow carnival, polar marathon, and ice fishing. 

One of the international events Xu referred to are the 2025 Asian Winter Games, which are set to take place in Harbin, Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province. 

Zhang Guihai from the Heilongjiang Ice and Snow Industry Research Institute said hosting the Asian Winter Games in Harbin is a testament to the fast development of China's winter sports, but there is still huge potential in popularizing them across the country.

Regions in southern parts of China, such as Chongqing and Shanghai, have already hosted skating competitions in 2023, exemplifying the concept of expanding winter sports from the traditional northern to the southern areas in China.