Beijing 2008 legacy has 'inspired millions' – will dovetail with 2022 Winter Games
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Beijing 2008 legacy has 'inspired millions' – will dovetail with 2022 Winter Games

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There has been a 'massive increase' in sports participation among the Chinese population following the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

Revealing details of legacy programmes to mark the 11th anniversary of the 2008 Games, The Beijing Olympic Development Association (BODA) said there were two sports that exemplify the progress made: tennis and basketball.

The 2008 Games have helped fuel a US$4bn investment into tennis across China and has boosted participation to such an extent that there are now an estimated 14 million players in the country – up from just one million in 1988.

Meanwhile, the success of Chinese player Yao Ming, one of the local stars of Beijing 2008, has helped create a basketball programme that has reached 350 schools and more than 150,000 children across the country, while also helping build school facilities and courts in rural areas.

BODA was founded in 2009 to oversee Olympic legacy projects and manage the financial surplus from the Games for the benefit of sport and culture.

The agency also revealed that there has been an active drive to utilise the infrastructure created for the 2008 Games.

These include the iconic Bird’s Nest stadium, which has – since acting as the main venue in 2008 – been in active use and hosted the 2015 Athletics World Championships.

The Water Cube – the venue for the 2008 aquatics competitions – continues to host national and international sporting events and is also open to the local public.

Of the 16 new venues built for Beijing 2008, 15 are in use today for sports, cultural and recreational activities.

Now, BODA is looking to dovetail the success of the 2008 legacy programmes with the upcoming 2022 Winter Games – also to be held in Beijing.

The agency has announced a key objective of engaging 300 million people in winter sports.

The move will mirror a larger transition of China from an Olympic Summer Games host to an Olympic Winter Games host, an initiative driven by central government.

It has already led to participation levels in winter sports increasing and China’s winter sports industry growing to be worth an estimated US$53.6bn in 2018 – up from US$46.2bn the year before.

Infrastructure created for 2008 will also be used. The Bird's Nest will host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for Beijing 2022, while the Water Cube will host the curling competition at Beijing 2022.

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The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games has resulted in a 'massive increase' in sports participation among the Chinese population.

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