Five-year plan to promote sports in city unveiled
Shanghai is promising a better sports environment with a series of measures over the coming years, including building more sports venues and improving the management of sports facilities.
The city government is hoping that sports can showcase Shanghai's soft power.
According to the city's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for sports development that was released on Thursday, each citizen shall have 2.6 square meters of a sports facility on average by the end of 2025. Currently, the figure stands at about 2.35sqm, which was increased from 1.76sqm in 2015.
About 8,000 more sports venues and facilities, including football pitches, outdoor activity centers and extreme-sport parks, will be built around the city in the next five years.
"With more citizens taking part in sports activities on a regular basis, the number of sports facilities cannot meet the demand, especially in the more populated downtown areas," said Zhao Guangsheng, vice director of Shanghai Sports Bureau.
"The operations of some venues are lagging, especially the booking system. We will work and improve the digital management capabilities of the venues," said Zhao.
Zhao said more sports and health-related lectures will be introduced in schools, neighborhoods and enterprises to promote a healthy lifestyle.
The landmark venues that are expected to be completed within the next five years include the Pudong Football Stadium, Shanghai Juss International Equestrian Center and Xuhui Sports Park.
According to Shanghai Sports Bureau Director Xu Bin, a batch of "urban sports centers" will be set up around the city, especially in the suburban "new towns."
"In these centers, the operation of the sports venues will be combined with commercial and cultural activities, as well as tourism and education," said Xu. "The sports bureau has introduced preferential policies, as well as construction standard for the sports centers, including venue space and operative items."
Xu said the urban sports centers shall be able to host big-scale competitions, while meeting citizens' demand for space for regular exercises at the same time.
With the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games next year, Shanghai will continue to promote winter sports.
Currently, there are 44 winter sports venues and facilities in the city, as well as over 30 skating and skiing clubs. With Shanghai's subtropical climate, most skiing centers are forced to use machines to simulate snow slope conditions.
"Shanghai has always been one of the premier cities in promoting winter sports," said Zhao. "Our survey showed that about 2 million people in Shanghai have taken part in winter sports activities in 2020. And about half of them are youngsters."
Zhao said 30 more winter sports venues will be built in the next five years.
Shanghai will continue to host world-class winter sports competitions including short-track speed skating and figure skating world championships when the pandemic eases.