Teenage curling athletes compete at the National Aquatics Center's ice sports arena during a national curling tournament for middle school students, Dec. 23, 2023. [Photo provided to China.org.cn]
A national curling tournament for middle school students kicked off on Dec. 23 at the National Aquatics Center in Beijing. Around 100 teenage athletes from about 20 middle schools nationwide competed in the three-day event at the dual-Olympic venue's underground ice sports arena.
The tournament, organized by the China School Sports Federation, is the only national-level curling competition that combines physical training with education programs.
As part of China's initiative to involve 300 million people in winter sports, the event aims to increase the popularity of curling in the post-Beijing Winter Olympics era, develop young talent, and encourage public participation.
The event took place at the Ice Sports Center, an important legacy of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. The venue, also home to the country's first World Curling Academy training center, has been open to the public since 2022. Offering Olympic-standard rinks and professional venue management, it provides world-class facilities and services to young curlers.
Since Beijing 2022, the Ice Sports Center has launched various curling programs. In 2023, it hosted seven curling training sessions and competitions, drawing over 20,000 participants.