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Tibet gives huge boost to sports over past decade
By:China Daily Global
update:October 14,2022
Equestrian performers participate in the traditional Shoton Festival in Lhasa, Tibet autonomous region, in August 2020. SUN FEI/XINHUA
The Tibet autonomous region has achieved all-around progress in the sports sector, pouring nearly 5.23 billion yuan ($728 million) into sports projects over the past decade, officials said recently at a news conference in Lhasa, the regional capital.
As part of this historic breakthrough, the region has also been making efforts to enhance the protection and inheritance of ethnic sports and the development of outdoor sports.
More than 22 ethnic sports, including Damchirim horse racing of northern Tibet's Damshung county and Lhasa kite-flying, have been put on the national and regional intangible cultural heritage lists, while activities such as Tibetan tug-of-war and Tibetan wrestling were included as events at national ethnic sports meets, Wang Dejun, spokesman for the regional sports bureau, told the news conference on Monday.
Weightlifting (stone-lifting) and Tibetan chess are also among activities that have been included in regional ethnic sports meets. In addition, equestrian events during the annual Tibetan New Year and Tibetan tug-of-war, known as yajia, were included in 2020 on the list of excellent Chinese traditional sports, Wang said.
Participation in sports throughout the region has improved dramatically over the past decade, with more than 997,000 people, or over 28 percent of the population, regularly taking part in physical exercise, Wang added.
The region has more than 8,600 sports venues, more than 3,000 sports events have been held over the decade, and more than 380 medals have been won by Tibetan athletes in various international games.
Nyima Tsering, the head of the bureau, noted that the International Olympic Committee has added ski mountaineering, a newly emerging sport in China, as one of the events for the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy.
"Tibetan athletes currently account for nearly 80 percent of (China's) ski mountaineering team, and these Tibetan athletes are more competitive in challenging European athletes," said Nyima Tsering, adding that Tibet will promote ice- and snow-related sports to gain glory for the nation.
Enriched with natural resources such as snow-capped mountains, valleys, rivers, lakes, grasslands and forests, Tibet is an ideal place for running, climbing, trekking, rock climbing, skiing, cycling and trail running, he said.
The region will also strive to build a diversified outdoor sports industry platform, aiming to host sporting events such as the Trans-Himalaya International Extreme Cycling Race, the China Tibet Mountaineering Convention and the National Ski Mountaineering Championships, he said.
"We expect the outdoor sports industry to eventually become a pillar industry in the region and contribute to the economy," he added.
According to the bureau, the region has carried out seasonal cleaning of climbing mountains since 2013 and has removed more than 50 metric tons of waste.
The region also provided professional mountaineering assistance for the emergency evacuation of climbers on the northern slope of Qomolangma — known as Mount Everest in the West — during the Nepal earthquake in 2015, and more than 100 professional Tibetan climbers worked as support crew for the remeasurement of the height of Qomolangma in 2020.
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