Trainers in China trying to get the balance right on ice
Gao Cheng trains young children and students about 12 hours a day seven days a week, teaching them the fundamentals of skating and answering questions from their parents.
He oversees roller-skating in 27 kindergartens and 450 students skating on ice at two professional rinks in Dalian, northeast China’s Liaoning province.
He keeps in touch with 15,000 parents privately or in groups viaWeChat.
“Can you imagine how much the students love skating? In order not to let them down, I seldom ask for leave,” Gao told China Daily.
Gao, 32, has been engaged in training since he retired from the national speed skating team because of a knee injury in 2002.
“Thanks to the two professional rinks and China winning the bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, the number of learners in Dalian has been growing rapidly in recent years,” he said.
But there are not enough qualified trainers. Some parents are willing to pay a high price for training their kids— one parent even offered 1,000 yuan ($145) per hour for a good trainer, he added.
“I believe if we can break through the bottleneck of the shortage of professional trainers and rinks, ice sports will see an explosive growth in China,” said Gao.
In November, the National Development and Reform Commission issued a 10-year plan for winter sports development.
The country will promote ice sports in various fields such as education, infrastructure and management systems, according to the plan
By 2025, China expects to have 300 million people involved in winter sports.
In order to cultivate trainers as well as prepare for the 2022 Winter Olympics, Beijing Sport University set up the School of Winter Sports in April 2016.
The first class, with about 40 students, began in September.
“The cultivation of professional trainers with both theoretical and practical skills cannot be done in a short period of time. We must keep trying,” said Li Yanli, a professor at Beijing Sport University.
With China’s figure skating pair icons Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo as teaching and technical directors, the Champion Rink, China’s first professional rink management institution, is achieving outstanding results in promoting ice sports.
A source from the Champion Rink said with government support, more schools are cooperating with commercial rinks.
The Champion Rink operates nearly 30 commercial rinks in a dozen cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Dalian and cooperates with dozens of schools around the country. The number of registered members is near the million mark.
The company is expected to establish more than 100 rinks around the country by 2022, said the source.
In order not to let them (students) down, I seldom ask for leave.”
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Youngsters undergo an ice hockey training session in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province. Winter sports are popular in China as the country will host the 2022 Winter Olympics.