A sporty and physically fit nation

Li Min/China Daily

China will launch large-scale public fitness initiatives, improve physical education for young people, promote the comprehensive development of recreational and competitive sports, and make China a strong country in sports more quickly, according to the report to the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party on Oct. 16 .

In the past decade, China has made unprecedented efforts to become a leading global sports power. Thanks to these efforts, Chinese athletes have achieved impressive results in sporting events, the sports industry has grown by leaps and bounds, and sports culture has spread across the country.

In order to make China a leading sports power, the government has introduced mass fitness programs and policies. By the end of 2021, the government had increased the number of sports facilities to 3.97 million with an area of ​​3.41 billion square meters, and increased the per capita area for sports facilities to 2.41 square meters. And to encourage more people to exercise or exercise regularly to maintain their physical health, the General Sports Administration is supporting 1,200 to 1,400 sports venues to give the public free or low-cost access.

There are also more than 48,000 sports organizations in China, and by the end of 2021, over 2.7 million physical education teachers had obtained physical and skill training certificates at over 2,300 training centers.

In addition, more than 100 million people participate in sporting events every year. The national fitness program has helped millions of people maintain or improve their physical health, and pilot projects for community-level sports centers have raised people’s health awareness. More than 500 million Chinese, or 37.2 percent of China’s population, exercise regularly, and over 90 percent of people reached the standard average physical level in 2020.

China has also achieved notable successes in competitive sports. For example, at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, China had its best performance at overseas Olympics, equaling the tally of 38 gold medals at the London 2012 Olympics. In addition, in 2022 China competed for the first time in all 15 disciplines of the Winter Games with the best result ever.

Athletes in a number of competitive sports have broken through the bottleneck and become world leaders in their events. And the cross-sport recruitment system put in place by the government to realize the country’s sporting ambitions has helped China achieve remarkable success in the new Olympic sports and winter sports.

Also, the rapid development of the sports industry has contributed to China’s athletic prowess, with strengthening supply-side structural reform and optimizing related policies not only accelerate the high-quality development of the sports industry, but also help boost consumption and economic growth.

According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, China’s sports industry was worth 2.73 trillion yuan (380.49 billion U.S. dollars) in 2020, with an added value of 1.07 trillion yuan. The gradual but steady integration of sports, tourism, culture, education and elderly care industries has stimulated domestic demand and prompted a number of private companies to enter the sports sector and make contributions to the Chinese economy.

New technology trends such as 5G, augmented reality and 8K are playing a crucial role in shaping the sports industry, which is centered on the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the Yangtze River Delta region and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and the Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Circle.

Also, Chinese teams and athletes have achieved notable milestones in the past 10 years. For example, the Chinese women’s volleyball team won the gold medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016, reclaiming the title 12 years after the Athens Games in 2004. China also lifted the Women’s Volleyball World Championship with 11 consecutive wins in 2019. The spirit of the Chinese women’s volleyball team endures for generations, showing the fighting spirit of Chinese athletes for the glory of the motherland in the new era.

In addition, the Chinese mountaineering team completed the task of measuring the height of Qomolangma (Mount Everest) in 2020, marking the 60th anniversary of the first successful Chinese expedition from the Chinese side to Qomolangma. That team members stayed at the summit for a record-breaking 150 minutes to calibrate the mountain’s elevation using a suite of new technologies developed by Chinese researchers was in itself a remarkable achievement.

And the success of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games demonstrated the organizing ability of the Chinese authorities and the sporting spirit of Chinese athletes, who have always faced challenges, strived for excellence and upheld the Olympic motto. The 2022 Winter Games also showcased a prosperous and open China.

The author is director of the Shanghai Collaborative Innovation Center of Sports and Health Industry at the Shanghai University of Sport. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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