The opening ceremony of the first Curling World Cup was held in Suzhou Olympic Sports Center on September 12.
Yu Zaiqing, vice-chairman of the International Olympic Committee and vice-chairman of the Organizing Committee for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, Kate Caithness, president of the World Curling Federation (WCF), Li Lingwei, vice-chairlady of the Chinese Olympic Committee, Sun Yuanfu, deputy director of the Winter Sports Administration Center of the General Administration of Sport of China (GASC) and chairman of the Chinese Curling Association (CCA), and Chen Gang, director of the Sports Bureau of Jiangsu, attended the ceremony.
Li Yaping, deputy secretary of the CPC Suzhou Municipal Committee and mayor of Suzhou, announced the beginning of the 2018 Curling World Cup Suzhou Division which will last until September 16, attracting 24 teams.
The stadium of the Olympic Sports Center was full of people yesterday afternoon. At the opening ceremony, the Suzhou Symphony Orchestra played some famous pieces of music and the performances of Kunqu opera and Pingtan were staged, showing the charm of Suzhou where East meets West as old and new tie in together. Then, the 24 delegations marched into the stadium amid thundering cheers from the stands. The opening ceremony was followed by the women’s competition.
The Curling World Cup, an international championship sponsored by the WCF and attended by its member states, has been held for the first time this year. It is composed of the Suzhou leg, the North America leg, the Europe leg, and a Grand Final in Beijing, China. Currently, it is the only international curling competition with Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Doubles events.
It is reported that the Curling World Cup is the first international winter sports event in the Beijing Winter Olympic Cycle running from 2018 to 2022. The Suzhou leg of the Curling World Cup, the first stop of this new series, is the first international ice sports event hosted by the city.
The launch of the Curling World Cup also marked the official opening of the stadium of Suzhou Olympic Sports Center, which is the largest one of its kind in Suzhou with the most advanced facilities and complete functions. The Class-A sports center has a stadium, a gymnasium, a swimming complex, a commercial plaza and a Holiday Inn, integrating such functions as sports, fitness, business, entertainment, and theatrical performance. The Curling World Cup is the first important event held in the center after its completion.
The opening ceremony was also attended by Wu Qingwen, member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Suzhou Municipal Committee and secretary of the Party Working Committee of SIP, and Xu Meijian, member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Suzhou Municipal Committee and deputy mayor of Suzhou.