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Hangzhou Asiad legacy integrates into local people's daily lives

By Li Bowen, Xia Liang, Hu Jiali| Xinhua| Updated: February 21, 2024 L M S

Following Hangzhou's hosting of the Asian Games, many sports venues in China's Zhejiang Province are open to the public, celebrating the spirit of community engagement during the Chinese New Year.

From Hangzhou's iconic Asian Games arenas to local sports centers across the province, residents have been invited to enjoy a range of activities at no cost during the holiday.

"Rather than exchanging toasts at the dining table, I prefer inviting friends to celebrate the New Year by playing football on the field," said a local resident surnamed Zhou, who reserved a football pitch at the Huanglong Sports Center, echoing the sentiments of many locals eager to embrace an active Chinese New Year.

Shen Bin, director of the Huanglong Sports Center, emphasized the venue's commitment to fostering a culture of fitness, marking the first time that holiday access has been extended to the public free of charge.

From New Year's Eve to the third day of the New Year holiday, the Huanglong Sports Center buzzed with activity, offering all kinds of sports ranging from table tennis to swimming.

"After the news was announced a week before the Spring Festival, reservations quickly filled up. These past two days, nearly a thousand people have been here daily for exercise, showing a high enthusiasm for sports," said Ye Chuxiao, head of the fitness department at the Huanglong Sports Center.

Not far away, the Hangzhou Gymnasium, another hallmark of the Asian Games, offered free access for people to play squash, table tennis and badminton during the holiday period.

"During the Spring Festival, we've extended our free opening hours. Apart from the free access to the athletic training field, sports facilities for activities like badminton, tennis, volleyball, and basketball are open from 9am to 2pm every day," said Sha Jianqin, deputy general manager of Hangzhou Binjiang Olympic Sports.

The Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium, the "Big Lotus", and Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Tennis Center, the "Small Lotus", have attracted a steady stream of visitors, with the outdoor tennis courts emerging as a favorite among sports enthusiasts. Since opening to the public on January 15, these facilities have served over 510,000 people, showcasing the enduring appeal of sports in the community.

Beyond the provincial capital of Hangzhou, cities like Huzhou, Jinhua and Wenzhou also extended their sports venue opening hours during the Lunar New Year, underscoring the province's commitment to fitness and recreation.

With 27 venues open to the public during the holiday period, Zhejiang Province's sports officials affirmed the normalization of free or low-cost access to public sports facilities. "Opening Asian Games Public Sports Venues to the Public" stands as a flagship initiative in the 2024 Zhejiang Provincial Government's agenda.

Li Qidi, dean of the College of Physical Education and Health Sciences at Zhejiang Normal University, emphasized the integrated approach to sports venue planning, aiming to meet diverse fitness needs and promote universal access to China's public services.

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