by Kitty Hu
(12 November 2012) Beijing, China
“With the experiences of hosting Cup of China for the past ten years, now we have more confidence that the Chinese Skating Association will give us a successful World Championship in 2015.” said Peter Krick, the chair sports directorate of ISU, at closing banquet of 2012 Grand Prix Cup of China.
The ISU Council provisionally allotted some of the 2015 Championships at the ISU Congress in June at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The council announced that the ISU World Figure Skating Championship will be held by the Chinese Skating Association in Shanghai. The ISU World Figure Skating Championship will come to China for the first time, during 23rd to 29th March, 2015.
With the experience of hosting the 2002 Four Continent Championship and with Chinese skaters, especially the pair skaters like Xue Shen & Hongbo Zhao blooming in the international competition, the ISU Grand Prix made its debut in China in 2003, getting the hosting right to one of the ISU grand prix series instead of Germany. Since then the ISU Grand Prix Cup of China has been held in Beijing, Harbin, Nanjing and Shanghai fover the past ten years. Also, Beijing was the hosting City of the ISU Grand Prix Final, which is one of the most important ISU figure skating events, in 2004 and 2010.
In 2011, during the closing banquet of Cup of China, Peter Krick mentioned that figure skating has became the most popular winter sports in Asia, “ In 2010, there has been five of the six most important events held in Asian countries. With the success of Chinese skaters, it is time for China to host the World Championship in China.”
Hongguo Ren, the vice president of the Chinese Skating Association agreed with Mr. Krick very much. “Figure skating had been dominated by America and European countries for a very long time, but with the rising of Japanese skaters, Japan became the first Asian country to host the World Championship in 2007 (sic). The sports have been promoted much more after Chinese pair skaters succeeded to get the gold and silver in Vancouver Olympics,” said Ren.
The Chinese Skating Association has been gathering experience by hosting the Cup of China for ten years, and at the same time has also let ISU members know that a high level has been reached for the venue, event organizing and operating, broadcasting technology, and the popularity of the sport. “Mr Krick threw out the olive branch to us based on the recognition of CSA’s work in the past,” Ren told the media.
But for the host city in 2015, Shanghai is still a provisional one. "The ISU will make very detailed investigation of the host city every year, and make the final announcement a year before. There also has been an example that changed the host city in the past,” the vice secretary-general Dong Yang told the Xinhua Agency in a recent interview.
But Shanghai must be one of the most competitive cities for hosting this event. “Shanghai is a international city with big global impact, and also has lots of experience on hosting sports event, like short tract speed skating world championship and world swimming championship in 2011. We will try our best to welcome the ISU World Figure Skating Championship to China,” said secretary-general Yang. The CSA will pay more attention on the preparation work for the 2015 World Championships.
Beijing is another good choice for the host city, given its successful experience hosting Cup of China six times, the Grand Prix Final twice and the Four Continents Championshops in 2002. In addition, the Beijing audience knows the sports better than other city in China.
The Chinese Skating Association prefers to host more event in Shanghai, not only because of the excellent venue conditions of Oriental Sports Center, but also the desire to promote winter sports in the southern part of China. In the past decades, almost all Chinese figure skaters came from northern areas like Harbin and Changchun, which made a limitation on the development of figure skating. Hosting a world championship of figure skating in a most influential area in South China may be an efficient and direct promotion of the sport, make more people aware of it and and to gather interest to become involved.
“The memoriesof the first time we competed in an international event in China is still in my brain. It is a big big honor and pleasure to perform in front your home crowd. I never competed in a world championship in my own country during my full career. It’s a regret indeed,” said Hongbo Zhao, the Vancouver Olympic pair skating champion.