More sports facilities open in city to meet fitness needs
"One minute countdown! Are you ready?" A WeChat message from my friend Cecilia came in early Monday morning, urging me to book a reopened outdoor tennis court for this weekend, as the COVID-19 pandemic has been effectively controlled.
In the middle of a busy workday, I logged on to Yundongba, a commercial app for reserving tennis courts, only to found that all the available schedules had turned gray – meaning there were no vacancies left. Apparently, I was too late.
Then came plan B. I went to Xianyu, a trading platform for second-hand goods in China, and looked for space at a bargain. Finally, I got one.
On June 7, the government updated the list of opening hours of sports venues that have reopened in the city, like Hongkou Football Stadium in Hongkou District, the outdoor tennis courts at Xianxia Tennis Center in Changning District, and basketball courts at Zhongyuan Stadium and Jiangwan Stadium in Yangpu District.
To ensure the safety, there are limits on the number of people on the courts. When it comes to tennis, the capacity limit is three to four people. And to enter a venue, people must wear a mask, do temperature check, scan the venue code and provide a negative 72-hour PCR test report.
After a two-month lockdown, many sports fans cannot wait to go back to the courts and feel the rush of adrenaline.
Young people like to try different kinds of sports, even some extreme sports, such as skateboarding, roller-skating and skiing. The elderly are more focused on improving health. Sports can help them lead a healthy and pleasant life in retirement and make new friends.
More parents are inspiring their children to start playing sports early, and they can also participate to form bonds and relationships.
"My wife and I encourage our child to try different sports like fencing, basketball and snowboarding," says Chen, a friend of mine who is the father of an 8-year-old son. Chen is a basketball enthusiast who gives his son tips and advice while practicing together.
"It also helps us build strong bodies and stay away from digital devices," adds the father.
More sports venues
Shanghai is setting up more sports and cultural venues on people's doorsteps.
By 2025, there will be no less than 8,000 new or renovated fitness facility projects, according to the municipal government plan released at the end of last year. The total area covered by new sports venues will be no less than 6 million square meters.
Shanghai will also speed up the construction of sports-related facilities, building 164 citizen fitness stations, 749 fitness trails, 110 community football fields and 15 sports parks.
By the end of 2021, 297 of the city's 532 parks had fitness and sports facilities.
Early this February, Wantihui, the comprehensive center of Xujiahui Sports Park, opened a number of sports venues to the public including 33 badminton courts, 30 table tennis tables, five tennis courts, outdoor basketball courts and a football field.
In the beginning of March, Huangpu District also began providing more sports venues, including badminton courts and swimming pools at low prices or even free.
Take myself as an example. I live near Heping Park in Hongkou District. Within a 15-minute community life circle, I can have breakfast or lunch at a cafeteria in Jiaxing Road Subdistrict, and then invite friends to play table tennis or spar. At night, I can have a jog with my parents on the trails at a small park.
Some WeChat apps to book the courts
You can log onto the WeChat app "Laihudong 来沪动" by the Shanghai Sports Bureau to book courts and check a map of nearby sports venues.
Also, the WeChat app "Shanghai Sports Venues Facilities Management Center" offers sports venue reservations for Tianlin Sports Club in Xuhui District, Shanghai Sports Palace in Putuo District, Shanghai Zhongyuan Gymnasium in Yangpu District, and more.
The "Juss Sports 久事体育场馆" WeChat app offers court reservations for basketball, football, table tennis, badminton and tennis at Wantihui in Xuhui District, Xianxia Tennis Center in Changning District and Qizhong Tennis Center in Minhang District, among others.