left corner left corner
China Daily Website  

Display your spirit, Xi tells athletes

Updated: 2014-02-08 00:43
By Wu Jiao in Sochi, Russia and Sun Xiaochen in Beijing ( China Daily)

President stresses importance to boost less-developed sports

President Xi Jinping has called on Chinese athletes to live up to the Olympic spirit and help develop the country into a global sports power, as the Sochi Winter Olympics opened in Russia on Friday.

Display your spirit, Xi tells athletes 

President Xi Jinping shares a light moment with some Chinese athletes attending the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, on Friday. Huang Jingwen / Xinhua 

Xi made the remarks on Friday at a meeting with more than 50 representatives of Chinese athletes and coaches competing at the Games, before attending the event's opening ceremony.

China sent 66 athletes in 49 events in four sports — skating, curling, skiing and biathlon. They joined more than 6,000 athletes from about 90 countries and regions to compete in the event that ends on Feb 23.

Xi stressed that China still lags behind the world's elite level in sports such as soccer and volleyball, despite its strengths in other sports and breakthroughs in winter events.

"Only by setting ambitious goals and working hard to catch up with the world's best in our less-developed events, can China develop into a strong country in the global sports scene," Xi said.

Xi said he also expected Chinese athletes to do their best in Sochi without caring too much of "how many medals they could win" and focus on "carrying out the Olympic spirit to establish a positive international image" for the country's bid to host the 2022 Winter Games.

In November, Beijing and neighboring city Zhangjiakou in Hebei province announced a joint bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics with Beijing to host events staged on ice, and Zhangjiakou, about 200 km northwest of the capital, hosting snow events.

Athletes said they felt motivated by the president's talk.

"The president's remarks were truly inspirational," said Wang Bingyu, captain of China's world champion female curling team.

"We can feel the country is paying more attention to winter sports."

Previous Page 1 2 Next Page