In the past year, Hangzhou has played host to such well-known sports stars as the British footballer Michael Owen, basketballers Ron Artest and Yao Ming, table tennis star Ai Fukuhara and Chinese football coach Gao Hongbo.
The city also held major sporting events including a match between Manchester United and Greentown (a football club in Zhejiang Province), the Asian Table Tennis Championships, the qualifying leg of AFC Asian Cup, the China Automobile Championship and the World Cyber Games.
Hangzhou residents have always enjoyed these events and have, in recent years, also enjoyed more unusual sporting events such as the World Motor Drift Competition, an international Futsal soccer game, and the Chinese Kung Fu League, as well as a visit by basketball icon Kobe Bryant. Hangzhou is certainly on the worlds sporting map!
Besides the eye-catching international sports games mentioned above, physical exercise is also an important part of the daily lives for Hangzhou’s residents. Events that celebrate this include the Hangzhou International Marathon, the China Surfing Carnival, the Latin Dance Competition Asia leg, swimming across the Qiantang River, surfing in Qiantang River, a martial arts show in Xixi, and nationwide swimming competitions in Qiandao Lake. Moreover, Hangzhou also actively launched sports activities to celebrate the first National Fitness Day and successfully held the 17th Hangzhou Sports Meeting.
Hangzhou sports authorities have actively promoted activities in residential areas, rural areas and schools, imparting knowledge and information about physical fitness and health. Public sports facilities in the city are free to all people and commercial gyms are encouraged to offer free or discounted services on National Fitness Day. All these measures have been warmly welcomed and highly praised by local residents.
The sports industry in Hangzhou has achieved many highlights in its development:
1. Grand in scale: All the sports events were large in scale and grand in atmosphere. Some even reached record numbers of participants.
2. Harmony: Hangzhou ensures all sports events are held in a fair and harmonious atmosphere.
3. Frugality: All funds to stage events must be earmarked in the budget beforehand. Inspection during the events and auditing afterwards increases efficiency.
4. Discipline: Rules and disciplines are strictly followed in all events.
5. Balance: Competitive sports for professionals and physical fitness for residents are treated equally and the city has achieved developments in both fields.
6. Events management: Professional teams have been formed to organize large sports games. Strengthened management and supervision ensure the successful operation of large-scale events.
7. Talents: Talents in different fields of sports have been trained, which lays a solid foundation for future “Olympic Glory” projects.
8. Venues: Sports facilities in Hangzhou have been greatly improved with some venues reaching the highest international standard. Sports teams, audiences and leaders are all satisfied.
9. Market: Residents paid much more attention to large-scale sports events than before. With warm response, the sports event operation is well on the way and Hangzhou has become a brand among sports fans.