People embrace New Year through sports in China

"Climbing the mountain on New Year's Day is good exercise and has auspicious implications for the new year," said Zhu Qiuzhong, a Jiangshan resident.

On New Year's Day, over 2,000 mountain climbing enthusiasts ascended Jianglang Mountain over a 3.5-kilometre route in Jiangshan, east China's Zhejiang Province.

"Climbing the mountain on New Year's Day is good exercise and has auspicious implications for the new year," said Zhu Qiuzhong, a Jiangshan resident.

During the three-day New Year holiday, various sporting activities were held across China, as people embraced the start of 2023 in an active and healthy manner.

This is the 28th consecutive year that mountain climbing activities have been held in China on the first day of the new year, with this year's main activities held in Jiangshan and the central Chinese city of Zhangjiajie, featuring Winter Olympic champions Wu Dajing and Han Cong, Olympic weightlifting champion Long Qingquan and rock climbing world champion Zhong Qixin.

"It's very meaningful for me to climb the mountain with thousands of people to celebrate the new year," said Zhong.

Over 260 mountain climbing activities were staged across China over the New Year holidays, accompanied by mass sports events, exercise guidance, national fitness volunteering and other activities.

On New Year's Day, more than 300 people ascended the Oriental Pearl Tower, a landmark building in Shanghai's financial hub of Lujiazui.

"From their faces, we can feel the happiness that sport has brought to them," commented Olympic sailing gold medalist Xu Lijia.

In 2022, China aimed to present a "simple, safe and splendid" Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games to the world. And by October 2021, over 346 million Chinese people had participated in winter sports or related leisure activities since 2015, when Beijing won the 2022 Olympic bid, marking China's accomplishment of its aim to engage 300 million people in winter sports.

Chinese people's enthusiasm for winter sports has remained undimmed in the first snow season after the Beijing Winter Olympics, as they swarm into ski resorts and onto ice rinks.

In Jinfo Mountain, located in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, where snow is rarely seen, 10-year-old Jian Yuchen is skiing on the piste.

"My daughter has been eager to try skiing since she watched the Beijing Winter Olympics," Jian's father explained.

As northeast China's Jilin Province enters its coldest period of the year, a large number of tourists have poured onto the Changbai Mountains, with skiers and snowboarders of all ages seen on the piste, along with many waiting in line to take ski lifts.

"Despite the epidemic, we still receive three to four thousand skiers every day," said Wang Hongli, an operations manager at a resort in Fusong County of Baishan City.

At the end of 2022, an ice and snow festival opened in Beijing with a series of activities launched, allowing the capital city's residents and tourists to enjoy winter games in more than 20 parks, including the Summer Palace, the Beihai Park, and the Olympic Forest Park until mid-February.

In the Genting Snow Park in Zhangjiakou, another Beijing 2022 competition site, five snow pistes in halfpipe, ski cross and moguls events are open to the public, giving ski enthusiasts the opportunity to experience the Olympic piste.

The ninth National Public Ice and Snow Season kicked off in Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province on December 24, 2022, and will last until April 2023, as 1,499 ice and snow sports events are planned to take place across the country.

As China endeavours to become a sporting powerhouse, the Chinese people's widespread participation in sports will play a vital role in the country's achieving this goal.

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