|May 27, 2016 -- Quake-hit Yushu Tibetan autonomous prefecture in Northwest China's Qinghai province is rebuilding its image — as a fledging outdoor sports and tourism destination — by hosting an international white-water rafting event.
Yushu, which was hit by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake that killed more than 2,000 people in April 2010, will demonstrate the extent of its recovery by welcoming world rafting enthusiasts between July 15 and 22. They will compete in the International Rafting Federation's World Cup series, organizers announced on Tuesday.
Rafting is a widely recognized recreational outdoor sport that involves participants using inflatable boats to navigate fast-flowing rivers and other bodies of water.
The event in Yushu will be the second leg of the three-stop 2016 World Cup series, a Level C IRF competition that is open to male and female rafters from around the world. Participants will race in four disciplines: the sprint, H2H (head-to-head), the slalom, and downriver.
After visiting Yushu to carry out technical assessments in April, IRF president Joe Willie Jones left the high-altitude prefecture impressed with the ideal conditions of the Tongtian River, a main upper source of the Yangtze River.
"The water volume, flow velocity and vertical drop of the river are good enough to provide a technically challenging course for the competition," Jones said. "Here, we will make history by rafting on the highest possible course in the world."
Located at an average altitude of 4,200 meters, Yushu is linked to the Tibetan plateau and extends to about 720,000 square kilometers. It has a population of approximately 5.7 million people. Half of its residents are from the Tibetan, Hui and Mongolian ethnic groups.