Sweeping Up Brighter Prospects

May 31, 2018  Editor: Liu Yanmei

A new national curling event is being launched to ready China's men's and women's teams with a challenging environment to prepare for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

The annual China Open Curling competition, which will debut later this year, will feature 16 international teams, including the host squads.

"Through the China Open, we hope to attract more international curlers to compete here, which in turn will help to improve our national teams," Sun Yuanfu, president of the Chinese Curling Association, said at Tuesday's media conference.

"Also, it will hopefully bring more youngsters into the sport and get more Chinese provinces and cities to provide the social resources to fuel curling development throughout the country."

China's exposure to the slippery sport is relatively new. The national women's team was formed in 2003 and won the 2009 World Championships before bringing home the bronze medal from the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

The men's team has yet to medal at the worlds or Olympics, but has won gold at several Asian-Pacific Championships. And China defeated Norway 6-5 in the wheelchair curling final to claimed its first Paralympic Winter Games title in South Korea in March.

The China Open is seen as a major opportunity for the national teams to improve against the best from traditional powerhouses like Canada, Norway, Sweden and the United States.

To guarantee sustainable and healthy development of the sport, attracting the attention of young people and increasing its fan base is necessary.

"We want to develop curling starting from a new angle in China," said Shen Xiaofeng, a representative of the tournament business partner.

"We will connect curling with fashionable elements ... just like the Super Bowl, which is a sport and entertainment extravaganza. We want to do everything possible to help push Chinese curling to a more prominent position on the international stage."

(Source: China Daily)

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