German bob and skeleton athletes praise China's new Olympic track******
By Oliver Trust
BERLIN, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- German bobsleigh and skeleton athletes praised the new Yanqing track for Beijing 2022 after pre-Olympic test runs there.
Yanqing, a northern suburb of Beijing and one of the three competition zones of Beijing 2022, played host to bobsleigh and skeleton test runs between October 5 and 27.
German bobsleigh head coach Rene Spies called the venue "architecturally outstanding" as it is "smoothly embedded in the landscape."
China's organizers have created a "challenging competition site that doesn't allow any mistakes", the German coach said, adding that his team would need to perform at a high level to live up to their tag as pre-tournament favorites.
Returning to Germany, Spies called the trip to China ahead of several European Cup events a success, "as everything was perfectly organized."
Like Spies, athletes discussed the strict COVID-19 countermeasures in place for the Games, but emphasized that they fully accept the rules.
All German athletes, coaches, and staff are fully vaccinated, the association revealed.
"We felt comfortable despite the rules. We were somehow isolated but could entirely focus on our sports," Mariama Jamanka said.
The 2018 Olympic gold medal winner added, "We need to see the entire picture. The Olympics are the peak for athletes. To be able to compete is the primary target."
Compatriot Laura Nolte said that everyone is used to the restrictions. "I don't see a big problem. The fact is, in sports, we too have to live with it."
Nolte called the track tricky but safe. "There are many parts you enjoy driving."
2018 Olympic champion Francesco Friedrich called the regulations tight, "but after all, we are preparing for the Olympic Games, not a regional event."
For Friedrich, the COVID-19 pandemic remains a threat to all events. "It doesn't make sense to think about the measures, but instead use your energy to deliver a satisfying competition," he commented, adding that it is vital to keep one's speed from the start to cover the flat parts of the Yanqing track.
Seven-time skeleton world champion Tina Hermann spoke of an impressive track, while fellow skeleton athlete Jaqueline Lolling felt inspired by the scenery.
The building delivers "pure motivation and inspires you to compete at the highest level," the 2018 Olympic silver medalist added.
Germany skeleton head coach Christian Baude said he is optimistic for the Olympics after the preparation camp. "If you understand the characteristics of the track, you get along well."
Four-time Olympic champion and tobogganist Natalie Geisenberger said she is excited to experience a new track. "I might have seen all of them in my career. It's thrilling to see a new one now," she added.
Geisenberger takes off for test runs in China with the sledge team next Wednesday. "It's my fourth Olympics and I still want to win medals." Enditem
Shanghai vows to be hub of winter sports in east China******
SHANGHAI, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- In spite of being a city lacking in natural snow, Shanghai is stepping up its efforts to become a winter sports hub as China gears up for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics next February.。
The Shanghai stop of the FIS Cross-Country Skiing China City Tour ended last weekend, winning praise from athletes and coaches.。
The organizers adopted cutting edge snow-making technology for the event and laid a 300-meter FIS standard cross-country ski track along the Huangpu River in Yangpu District.。
Zhang Bei, leader of China's national cross-country skiing team, highly praised the competition environment.。
"Cross-country skiing events used to be held in mountainous areas covered with forest," said Zhang. "To compete in a metropolis like Shanghai is just like a fairy tale. On the waterfront of the Huangpu River, the combination of skiing and scenery is just unbelievable."
Chinese skiier Chi Chunxue, who has qualified for the Winter Olympics, was also excited to compete by the riverside.。
"It is the first time for Shanghai to hold a ski event. I am proud to be part of the first batch of participants," she said.。
According to the 14th Five-Year Plan for Shanghai's sports development, the city will play a key role in promoting winter sports in southern and eastern China.。
In addition to professional competitions, the city expects winter sports to flourish at grassroots level.。
In December 2018, Shanghai launched winter sports projects on school campuses. There are now 40 Winter Olympic model schools and 73 schools with a winter sports focus in Shanghai.。
Shanghai Jiading No.1 High School introduced ice hockey in 2019 and built a 200 square-meter rink in September 2020.。
"Compared with other sports, ice hockey is more interesting and fresh to me, so I chose to learn it without any hesitation," said Li Yifei, a student from Shanghai Jiading No.1 High School.。
Shanghai Huangpu Luwan No.1 Central Primary School cooperated with professional stadiums to offer students winter sports courses including skating, curling and snowboarding.。
According to the Shanghai Sports Bureau, as of October 2021, Shanghai has a total of 13 ice rinks, 34 indoor ski resorts and three curling venues, with various winter sports fields across 13 districts.。
"To better meet the demands of citizens, Shanghai will continue to upgrade ice and snow venues and facilitate citizens' participation in winter sports, " said Yan Jiadong, chairman of the Shanghai Ice & Snow Sports Association. Enditem。