Xi's dream of China as world sports power

President Xi Jinping is calling for new developments in sports to enable the country to become a world power as soon as possible.

President Xi Jinping is calling for new developments in sports to enable the country to become a world power as soon as possible.

Xi told a meeting with individuals and groups advancing China’s sporting cause: “Sports set the stage for a stronger and more prosperous country. Great importance should be placed on the development of sports, with more efforts made in both the scheduling and implementation of new projects.”

He was speaking in Tianjin where the 13th Chinese National Games opened last night.

Xi said the sports area had seen great development during the past five years, including the rapid growth of the Fitness-For-All project, remarkable achievements in competitive sports on the world stage, the further deepening of reforms, and Beijing’s successful bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Xi said the dream of becoming a sports power is in perfect harmony with the realization of China Dream, one that is to be implemented through sports reforms based on fresh ideas and on coordination between competitive and mass sports.

Xi said no efforts will be spared to put the focus of sports reform on meeting the needs of a healthy society through the implementation of the Fitness-For-All project, and added that the National Games in particular has played a very positive role in this regard by including mass sports.

The National Games, inaugurated in 1959, has drawn teams from all provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions of China. The 12-day event involves 12,721 athletes taking part in 417 events of 33 sports.

During a meeting with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, who was in the northern port city for the opening ceremony, Xi said China will fully honor its commitment to host “a fantastic, extraordinary and excellent” 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

Xi said preparations in the lead up to the 2022 Winter Games are going smoothly.

“We will fully honor our commitments that we made during the bid process and deliver a fantastic, extraordinary and excellent Winter Games,” he said.

China will also take the opportunity provided by the 2022 Winter Games to promote the balanced development of national competitive sports and mass sports, so as to improve the health of all Chinese people, Xi said.

Welcoming Bach’s participation at the opening ceremony of the 13th National Games, Xi told him China appreciates the contribution made by him and the IOC to the development of the Chinese Olympic Movement and the wider cause of sports.

China has always attached great importance to sport and the significant role of the Olympic Movement in economic and social development, Xi said.

China will continue to support the IOC and cooperate with it on issues, including the Olympic Movement, sports’ role in promoting world peace and development as well as the development of sports in China, he said.

Bach said he had seen the enthusiasm Chinese people have for the 2022 Winter Games and firmly believes China will hold a green, transparent, high-tech and sustainable Winter Games.

The IOC will coordinate with China to make sure the event is a great success, Bach added.

Xi said Beijing’s hosting of the 2022 Winter Olympics is a good opportunity to create a win-win situation for Chinese sport and the international Olympic Movement, and will inspire the Chinese people’s passion for the Olympic Movement.

One of the major tasks in China’s national development is to build itself into world sports power, said Xi, adding that the 2022 Winter Games will give the Chinese people another opportunity to contribute to the Olympic Movement and the spread of the Olympic spirit.

Beijing, which staged the Summer Olympics in 2008, was awarded the right to host the 2022 Winter Games in 2015, making it the first city to host both Summer and Winter Games.

Xi also met Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah, president of the Olympic Council of Asia.

Hangzhou, capital of east China’s Zhejiang Province, is to host the 19th Asian Games in 2022.

Xi said China fully supports Hangzhou’s preparation work and believes the event will be a success.

He also spoke highly of the Olympic Council of Asia’s efforts to promote Chinese and Asian sport development, and said China would continue to support the work of the OCA.

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