STOCKHOLM, Jan. 10(Greenpost)– China Finland Year of Winter Sports has begun, announced Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture in a press release reaching here today.
The year 2019 was designated as the China Finland Year of Winter Sports at the meeting of the Finnish and Chinese presidents in spring 2017. Finland is the first country with which China has agreed on this type of winter sports partnership. The thematic year and the preparations for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing are expected to boost Chinese interest in Finnish winter sports expertise.
According to Minister for European Affairs, Culture and Sport Sampo Terho, the thematic year presents excellent opportunities for Finland in terms of both winter sports expertise and the commercial aspects of the industry.
“Because Finland is the first country with which China has agreed on this type of winter sports partnership, this gives Finland significant visibility and a competitive advantage compared to other winter sports countries leading up to the 2022 Beijing Olympics and Paralympics. Finland has a great deal of opportunities and a lot to offer, particularly when it comes to coaching, building venues for winter sports, sports technology, manufacturing sports equipment and teaching physical education in schools,” says Minister Terho.
The thematic year is focused on four main themes: 1) training and coaching, 2) sustainable development and equality, 3) travel and tourism and 4) competitive and performance sports.
Minister Terho will travel to Beijing to attend the opening of the thematic year, which will take place on 15 January 2019. The closing of the thematic year will be held in Rovaniemi in December.
The thematic year is made up of more than 60 different events, with highlights including the Chinese New Year celebration in Helsinki in February, the “Women’s Month” of April, when Finland hosts both the Women’s World Ice Hockey Championships and the World Synchronized Skating Championships, and three events – Helsinki Education Week, the SMASH sports technology event and GoExpo Winter – taking place in November. As the “Country of Honour” at the 2019, World Winter Sports Expo in Beijing, Finland will have the opportunity to present its knowhow in various areas of winter sports.
In addition to the thematic year, Business Finland has established the Winter Sports Cluster growth programme, which aims to develop cooperation and export opportunities for Finnish businesses with an eye towards the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic games in Beijing.
High-level visits boost cooperation
The Finnish and Chinese presidents agreed on the 2019 joint year of winter sports during President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Finland in April 2017. To coordinate the arrangements for the thematic year, Finland and China established a working group in charge of the joint programme during Sampo Terho’s visit to Peking and Harbin in March 2018.
The year of winter sports is a joint initiative of various ministries, cities, the Finnish Olympic Committee, the Finnish Paralympic Committee, individual sports associations and sports institutes.
STOCKHOLM, Sept. 18 (Greenpost) — At a Tourism Promotion Conference held in Helsinki on Monday, both Chinese and Finnish Tourism officials expressed strong desire to promote cultural and tourism to China and Finland.
Zhai Yuhu, Vice Director of Hebei Tourism Development Commission said Hebei province has great advantages and rich cultural and tourism resources. The Great Wall is in Hebei which embraces both the beach and the mountains as well as skiing site in Zhangjiakou where the 2022 Winter Olympics will be held.
He said the purpose of this visit was to implement the strategic decision between the two countries’ governments.
“In 2017, the governments of Finland and China made the decision to promote cultural exchange with an emphasis on Winter Olympic, energy and tourism,” said Hebei Tourism Development Committee representative Zhai Yu Hu.
The Tourism Development Committee of Hebei Province in association with the Chinese embassy in Helsinki and Visit Finland organised the tourism promotion conference.
The conference was held marking the year 2018 as the EU-China tourism year aimed at promoting the less-known tourist destinations in a proactive way.
Similar to Finland, Hebei Province also enjoys great sightseeing and snow sport activities in winter. The province is an internationally renowned ice and snow sports and tourism resort in China. It has more than 80 skiing resorts, of which the largest one covers about 156 kilometres. In the 2017-2018 snow season the area received as many as 2.741 million visitors.
In an interview with Greenpost, Zhai Yuhu said that Finland has long been known as an experienced country in ice and snow activities and sports, Hebei Tourism Development Committee likes to learn from Finland. Besides, the province also aims at knowing more about winter sports equipment from Finnish companies to elevate itself to the international level in terms of manufacturing them.
Zhai Yu Hu said that Hebei has similar geographical features as Finland, having great forests and a large number of lakes. Embracing the capital city of Beijing and other neighbouring municipalities and facing the Bohai Sea with a 487km coastal line, Hebei Province enjoys great advantages in attracting tourists.
The province has a variety of top tourism attractions, from the famous Great Wall, world-recognised geological parks and national reserves to the thousand-year historical complex of imperial gardens, ancient palaces and graveyards and temples, it is really worthwhile to visit, said Zhai Yu Hu.
Apart from a tourism promotion framework, Hebei also has a trade facilitation policy that allows 144-hour visa-free transit for visitors from 53 countries and tax rebate on shopping departures for overseas tourists. A new international airport near Hebei province will open to operation next year to facilitate travel.
Guo Xiaoguang, Cultural Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Helsinki also spoke at the conference. He said China and Finland are really not far away from each other because there is only one country between the two countries, that is Russia.
Guo said that tourism is the best means to increase mutual understanding between the two countries. Therefore, the Chinese embassy to Finland also acts as a bridge between the agencies and companies of Finland and China in accelerating tourism cooperation.
To date, the Finnish national flag carrier Finnair has launched five direct flights from Helsinki to five different cities in China, thereby considerably increasing the number of Finnish tourists to China in recent years, while also adding a large number of Chinese visitors to Finland. Guo again and again introduced Hebei’s famous tourist destinations and warmly welcome Finnish tourists to visit Hebei.
The official tourism promotion board, Visit Finland representative Teemu Ahola, said currently Finnish officials are in China discussing further cooperation between China and Finland in snow sports in 2019 based on Xi jinping’s last year’s visit result. In December this year, Finland will go to Zhangjiakou to organise an opening event of the Winter Olympics 2022, which might become a good opportunity for promoting cooperation in sports and tourism between the two countries.
In an interview with Greenpost, Teemu Ahola said China is the fifth largest tourism market for Finnish tourism industry. They really like to tap the great potential of it and will organize promotion activities in China too.
During the promotion conference, the two sides also signed further agreements in deeper cooperation in the future.
STOCKHOLM, June 25(Greenpost, Chineseonline)– Chinese Dongfeng Race Team won the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 in the closest pass in race history.
Skipper Charles Caudrelier led his team to victory on the final leg of the race, a 970-mile sprint from Gothenburg, Sweden to The Hague.
Incredibly, it marked the first leg win for the team — it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Three teams started Leg 11 of the race on Thursday in a dead heat on the overall leaderboard. The finishing order between MAPFRE, Team Brunel and Dongfeng Race Team at The Hague would determine their place on the overall race podium.
Each of those three teams led at various points on the leg and had their opportunities to grab the prize.
But it was Caudrelier and his crew who made a bold call on Saturday evening to take a coastal route to the finish, which squeezed them tight against the shoreline and separated from the other leaders by a series of Exclusion Zones.
“We were not in such a good position, but we trusted our choice and we pushed,” Caudrelier said. “The others didn’t follow us, but we believed and we won…”
The decision hurt the team in the short term as they tumbled down the leaderboard. But by Sunday morning, with less than 100 miles left to race, weather routing projections had the top boats finishing within minutes of each other. None had been able to break away overnight, despite the significant splits on the race course.
“We knew that we would fall behind initially and that if it came good it would only be at the end. The last position report (1300 UTC on Sunday) we were 27-miles from the finish and they were 20-miles and we thought it was over. But then I did a small weather routing and it showed we could end up one-mile ahead so I woke everyone up and said, ‘let’s push!’”
As the teams finally converged again on Sunday afternoon, just a few miles from the finish, it was Dongfeng Race Team, flying down the coast from the north sliding in front of the offshore group, to earn their first leg win, propelling Caudrelier’s team to overall victory.
“We always trusted each other. Nobody thought we were going to win this last leg, but I had a good feeling,” an emotional Caudrelier said, after thanking his supporters and team. “I said ‘we can’t lose, we can’t lose, we can’t lose’… and we won!”
The overall results make this the closest finish in the 45-year history of the race and marks the first win for a Chinese-flagged team. It also means Carolijn Brouwer and Marie Riou were on board as the first women sailors to win the Volvo Ocean Race.
Xabi Fernández’s MAPFRE was third on the leg, which put the team into second overall.
“It has been tough,” Fernández admitted. “We sailed very well the whole way around the world and on this leg as well, so naturally we’re a bit disappointed. We were very, very close this time, but it was not quite enough. So we have to say congratulations to Dongfeng who sailed a little bit better than us.”
Team Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking would have liked nothing more than to win the race for the first time in eight tries with a home finish in The Netherlands. But it wasn’t to be. His fourth place leg finish left the team in third place overall.
“Third place, still on the podium, I think we can be pretty proud of that as a team,” he said. “We thought we had made the right choice (to go further offshore) and we expected a windshift. It came 90-minutes too late and that was the race. But that’s yacht racing. And of course we have to congratulate Dongfeng and MAPFRE for their results.”
Second place on the final leg into The Hague was Dutch skipper Simeon Tienpont and his team AkzoNobel, who had previously secured fourth place on the overall leaderboard.
“It’s incredible to finish on the podium in our hometown,” Tienpont said. “We would have loved to have been fighting into The Hague for the final podium but to have set the 24-hour speed record and to get six podium finishes in the race is a testament to the job everyone on our team – on the boat and on shore – have done.”
Vestas 11th Hour Racing had already been locked into fifth place on the scoreboard and after a promising start to Leg 11, had a disappointing seventh place finish on the leg.
“We have a great group of folks on this team,” skipper Charlie Enright said. “We’ve been through a lot and I’m not sure any other group could have dealt with the challenges we have faced the way we did. It’s something special and we’re going to continue to work together moving forward. This was a tough way to go out certainly, but we have one more opportunity with the In-Port Race this weekend.”
That In-Port Race, scheduled for Saturday afternoon, will determine the sixth and seventh place positions in this edition of the Volvo Ocean Race. Both SHK/Scallywag and Turn the Tide on Plastic finished the Volvo Ocean Race on equal points.
The tie-break mechanism is the In-Port Race Series, where David Witt’s Scallywag team currently holds the lead. But Dee Caffari’s Turn the Tide on Plastic is just three points behind and a strong finish on Saturday could lift them off the bottom of the leaderboard.
“We can’t help but smile today. We’ve done it,” said Caffari. “This leg was like the longest In-Port Race ever. A lot of corners to go around, and we gave it 100 per cent and left nothing in the tank.”
For David Witt, the finish was bittersweet the loss of John Fisher overboard in the Southern Ocean top of mind.
“I have very mixed emotions right now,” Witt said dockside immediately after finishing. “I’m incredibly proud of our team both on and off the water. We’re very tight and we have gone through a lot… But I’m also sad of course. I didn’t finish it with my best mate (John Fisher) who we started with. So very mixed emotions, but I’m glad we finished it.”
The teams will celebrate their accomplishments and take well-earned rest on Monday. The rest of the week will see activities in The Hague building towards the final In-Port Race and Awards Night on June 30.
STOCKHOLM, Jan. 16(Greenpost)—Visiting CPPCC member and Executive Director of China International Cultural Communication Center Long Yuxiang has met Zhang Qiaozhen, President of Sweden-China Entrepreneur Association in Stockholm on Jan. 13, 2018. They have exchanged ideas on promoting cooperation between China and Sweden in cultural, economic and sports sectors especially in ice hockey.
Zhang Qiaozhen has expressed warm welcome and deep gratitude to Long Yuxiang’s visit. She said that SCEA is an information exchange platform for Swedish and Chinese entrepreneurs and was established on November 2015. It mainly focuses on environmental protection, energy saving technology, clean energy, biomedicine, life science, electronic information etc.
Zhang Qiaozhen said SCEA will try its best to provide a friendship bridge across the border and cultures between the two sides. It is a platform for scientific research, finance, trade and talented people. In the areas of winter sports in particular ice hockey, China has made a great leap forward development in recent years and are looking forward to 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
Zhang said SCEA hopes to be able to join hands with China International Cultural Communication Center to do its best in ice hockey cooperation and 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
Long Yuxiang has thanked Zhang Qiaozhen for her contribution in pushing forward exchanges and cooperation between the two sides. He said Sweden is an important country in Europe and the largest country in Nordic region. It has advanced economic and technological development. Its Swedish Model in social governance is well-known in the world.
Long said Sino-Swedish friendship has had a long history and Sweden is the first western country in the world to establish diplomatic relations with China. In recent years, Sino-Swedish relations developed steadily and cooperation in various fields are deepened. As an important window for China to conduct cultural exchange with foreign countries, China International Cultural Communication Center has been engaged in making national cultural brand, holding the responsibility of attracting foreign culture towards the future, and established friendly relations with 130 countries in the world.
“President Xi Jinping has paid important attention to ice hockey development and made a series of directories for hosting 2022 winter Olympics. Kunlun Red Star Ice Hockey Club was established on June 25, 2016 witnessed by both Chinese and Russian Presidents. It symbolizes the birth of the first Chinese World class Ice Hockey Club. Since its establishment, it has seriously implemented Xi Jinping’s important mandate in order to promote Chinese Ice Hockey team to achieve excellent achievements in Winter Olympics. It has made great progress in improving Chinese ice hockey teams’ overall level. It also takes “belt and road” initiative as its mission to promote sports and culture exchanges. ”
Long Yuxiang said his center is more than willing to exchange and cooperate with Sweden-China Entrepreneur Association in promoting bilateral cultural , economic and sports especially ice hockey exchange and cooperation.
Yue Xinyu, founder of Beijing Kunlun Red Star Ice Hockey Club, Zhang Shouting, Nordic Sustainable Development Association, Zhang Shaobin, President of Shenzhen Kong Wah Real Estate Group, Zhang Shenhua, President of Shenzhen Xinyu Fund and Zhang Luping, General Manager of Rongtai Investment AB were also present at the meeting.