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Haining International Roller Skating Rink
    2008-09-28 10:26:56     CRIENGLISH.com

Hello, and welcome to this edition of China Horizons

The Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games have closed but the Olympic spirit is here to stay. People's enthusiasm for sports has increased dramatically, not only in Beijing, but everywhere around the country. In east China's Zhejiang Province, a newly opened roller skating rink has become a new attraction for young people. Liu Yan has more.


The Roller Skating Center is located in Haining, a port city 40 kilometers from the provincial capital of Hangzhou.

Children aged between five and eight come to the stadium regularly to learn and practice skating. Wearing skates and helmets, they follow their coach, crouching, curling and bending their legs.

Eight-year-old Wu Yuyang says she likes the sport very much.

"It's lot of fun. Now I'm able to circle and skate freely."

Gu Yanheng is here to watch her son skate.

"Skating helps improve his fitness and balance. He rises every time he falls. This can also strengthen his mind and help him keep a healthy psychological outlook."

Gu Yanheng says roller-skating embodies competition, recreation and fitness. That's why it's popular among young people.

Zhou Zhanghua is a parent.

"We completely support our kids participating in this sport. I hope there are more such activities for young people because they not only can help children keep fit but it's also entertaining."

The roller skating center was built by a couple, Li Weijuan and Lu Xuerong, who own a construction and decoration company. They became frustrated taking their daughters every other day to skate at a rink in Hangzhou 40 kilometers away. Li Weijuan says they had long been thinking of building a professional rink for the sport.

"I think roller skating is one of the top sports for leisure and keeping fit. It has become fashionable among young people in recent years. Meanwhile it can keep children from watching too much TV. I myself have learned roller skating and I also hold a coach's license. To attract more people to this sport, it is essential to establish a professional stadium for it."

Luckily, their proposal caught the attention and support of the local government. It was followed by a series of preferential policies related to land leasing and other procedures. After conducting feasibility studies in Shanghai, Hangzhou and Haining, the couple finally decided the location of the rink to be their home city, Haining.

After the project was approved, it took another year for the designers and constructors to build the center which was finally completed and opened to the public in July this year.

With a floor space of 20,000 square meters and an investment of 65 million yuan, or about 9 million US dollars, the center is able to seat 2,000 people. It is equipped and installed with television systems, a massive display screen and an internet network and monitoring system.

Li Guanxiao is deputy general manager of the center.

"The center will benefit not only the people of Haining, it can also benefit skating fans from afar by holding national and international competitions. It will help increase the overall level and awareness of the sport in the country."

Roller skating is a young sport in China. Experts estimate the skating population will increase dramatically over the next decade.

Sun Rongzhi is a coach at the center.

"With such advanced facilities and conditions provided by the center, it's sure to attract more people. "

The Asian Indoor Roller Skating Championships will be held at the center from October 11th to the 22nd.



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