Three years ago the first Vasaloppet in China was run in the city of
Changchun with seven million inhabitants.
Only a few hundred started the race.
– This time we expect around 6 000 participants in the four chosen
events. The interest is enormous at the moment for skiing in China. One
can only describe it as a “ski explosion” in China, says TorbjÃ¶rn
Pettersson of Park World Tour Travel.
A few of the best skiers in the world have decided to celibrate the New
Year in China, and they include Vasilij Rotchev of Russia and Dirk Klessen
of Germany. They will compete in sprint races in Bejing on the 29th. of
December and in Changchun on New Years Eve.
The Vasaloppet was exported to China as an attempt to create an interest
for cross-country skiing around the globe. That is exactly what we are
experiencing at the moment in China, mainly in the Chanchung area but also
in Bejing according to TorbjÃ¶rn Pettersson.
Lately 5 000 student registered for one of the four events in the Chinese
Vasalopp which is held on the 2nd- 3rd of January 2005.
– We expect about 6 000 to start. Skiers are registered from Sweden,
Norway, USA, Germany, Switzerland, Canada and of course China.
– Five persons are working in the race office arranging four different
events of varying distances: 50, 35, 10 and 3 km and the sprint. The men
behind these historic events are ski enthusiast GÃ¥vert WÃ¥Ã¥g and the ex.
Elite orientering world champion JÃ¶rgen MÃ¥rtenssen who also works with
Park World Tour Travel.
The main event over 50 km includes skiers as JÃ¶rgen Aukland, Norway,
Stanislav Rezac, The Czeck Republic, Oskar SvÃ¤rd, Henrik Eriksson and
Staffan Larsson all from Sweden.
Vasaloppets General Secretary Rolf Hammar is more than satisfied with the
progress made in China:
– I believe that China will continue to develop the ski sport and
eventually arrange a World Cup Competition. There are fantastic
possibilities to improve the sport as an elite sport but also at the grass
root levels for the participants and the competition arrangers.
Pictures Vasaloppet China: http://www.vasaloppet.org.cn/09.htm