14th National Winter Games Kick Off in Hulunbuir, China

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The 14th National Winter Games commenced in Hulunbuir, Inner Mongolia, following an impressive opening ceremony attended by various dignitaries, athletes, coaches, and media representatives. The ceremony was meticulously divided into ceremonial and cultural segments, each showcasing a blend of traditional, ethnic, and technological elements over an 80-minute spectacle held indoors due to the cold weather in the northern city. The event aimed not at grandeur but at highlighting the elegance and beauty of winter sports, featuring a mix of local songs, dances, and folk instrument performances that celebrated the rich traditional heritage of the autonomous region.

For the first time at the National Winter Games, the competition moved away from city-based units to introduce provincial, autonomous regional, and municipality units. This change in structure brought a fresh design to the entrance ceremony, focusing on individual delegations' unique characteristics through artistic displays such as Chinese paper-cuts and colorful illustrations. The celebration also included the recreation of traditional ethnic Mongolian songs, a recitation program titled "Ode to the Spirit of Chinese Sports," and a torch relay by young athletes on skates, culminating in the lighting of the main torch using augmented reality technology.

The Games welcomed over 3,700 athletes from 35 sports delegations across China's provinces and special administrative regions like Hong Kong and Macao, making it the largest National Winter Games in history. Notable athletes like Wu Dajing and Su Yiming, along with Winter Olympic champions including Xu Mengtao and Qi Guangpu, participated in various competitions aiming for gold medals. Despite the elite participation, some senior ice hockey teams had to reschedule their competitions to accommodate national team commitments, indicating the Games' significance and the athletes' dedication to their respective disciplines. The streets of Hulunbuir buzzed with the spirit of winter sports, adorned with ice and snow sculptures, colorful lights, and banners celebrating the excitement of the Games.

Hulunbuir's cultural performances featuring ethnic dances, ice sculptures, and the melodies of the Morin khuur delighted visitors in Gucheng, a historic town in the Hailar district. The intricate ice sculptures scattered around the ancient town, depicting winter sports like speed skating and skiing, added to the festive atmosphere. The tourism industry experienced a significant surge during the Spring Festival holiday, with an influx of visitors and a substantial increase in revenue compared to previous years, showcasing the growing popularity of winter tourism in the region.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09