Athletics worlds endorses Beijing's hosting capabilities

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With the world athletics championships being successfully underway in Beijing, the Chinese capital has once again showcased its great capabilities in hosting world class events.

Beijing and its neighboring Zhangjiakou of Hebei Province have just won the bid to host the 2022 Winter Games last month, with Beijing becoming the first ever in history to hold both Summer and Winter Games.

The championships, which started on Aug. 22 through to 30 and is considered to be an important sports event only after the Olympic Games and World Cup soccer finals, will serve as a latest example to impress the world.

"Beijing was where it all started for me at the Olympic Games in 2008," said Jamaican sprint star Usain Bolt, who first made his name with a stunning golden treble in the 2008 Beijing Games.

"I have great memories of this city and the stadium. They used to sing a Happy Birthday song to me! I believe the world championships will be as successful as the Beijing Games."

The organizing work of the championships was also hailed by IAAF president Lamine Diack. He said: "I'm grateful to the works that China has done for the championships and it helped all the athletes have better results. I believe the events held at the Bird's Nest will be spectacular."

Over the years since Beijing 2008, the city has seen a proliferation of hosting major sporting events, from its two hometown franchise heroes the Beijing Ducks (basketball) and Guoan (football) to hosting the world athletics championships at the iconic Beijing 2008 venue Bird's Nest, which will also be a key venue for a Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

"After the Beijing Olympics, the Bird's Nest has welcomed the athletics worlds, which can be seen as an acknowledgement of the venue's post-Games use," said Li Aiqing, a chief manager of the stadium.

"We did a lot of work to make it better and the athletes will find it easier to run faster and jump higher.

"In the Beijing Olympic Games, we felt nervous and excited, but now we are more confident and calm. I think the 2008 experience did work," Li added.

Earlier this month, Beijing and other seven cities also won the hosting right of the 2019 Men's Basketball World Cup.

Xu Jicheng, a famous NBA commentator of China, believed that the world class venues, rich experience in hosting big events and the Chinese people's involvement in sport helped China win the bid.

"I think China is always a safe choice for the world's sports event as the country is developing so fast and has become the world's second largest economy. The world needs a zero-risk host," Xu said.

Earlier this year, Beijing was ranked fifth in the 10 Best International Sports Cities. "Many Chinese people have adopted a sporting lifestyle since Beijing 2008", which not only helped transform the city into an international cosmopolitan destination, but also solidified a deep sporting culture, former NBA star Yao Ming said.

Chinese people not only came to the Bird's Nest to watch the athletics competitions, but also take to the sport. More and more people have started to run for their health and as a lifestyle, with China's star ultra-marathon runner Chen Penbin as an extreme example.

Chen, who just finished his feat of 100-marathon-in-100-day campaign last month, said: "By running marathon, I hope more Chinese people can get involved in sports and do sports for their health. I saw people run after me in every marathon in the past 100 days, I believe I can inspire more."

From athletics to winter sports, Yao strongly agreed that sport can change people's lives in China.

"Beijing has the experience and the infrastructure from 2008 to stage a remarkable Winter Olympics," Yao said. "Beyond this, it would contribute to a well-rounded sports culture in China that covers more ground than just basketball and soccer."

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