Yearender: Top 10 Chinese sports news events in 2020

BEIJING, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) — Here is Xinhua News Agency’s selection of the 10 most significant pieces of Chinese sports news in 2020, in chronological order:

– Eleven football clubs were disqualified from China’s professional leagues on May 23 due to wage arrears, while five other clubs disbanded over financial problems.

– The Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) league resumed on June 20 after a nearly five-month hiatus, followed by the start of the 2020 Chinese Super League (CSL) season which witnessed Jiangsu Suning emerging as the new champion. The ITTF Women’s and Men’s World Cup events and the Finals were staged in China in November, marking the first competitions to be staged in the country featuring overseas players.

– China’s table tennis chief Liu Guoliang was named chair of the newly-formed World Table Tennis Council on June 29, aiming to make table tennis one of the leading sports in the world. After a stellar playing career, in which he won Olympic and World Championship gold medals, Liu has since overseen serial success as head coach of the Chinese national team and as Chinese Table Tennis Association president.

– Chinese badminton legend Lin Dan announced his retirement on social media on July 4, ending an illustrious career at the age of 37. One of the most outstanding players in badminton, Lin has won 20 major titles including two Olympic golds, and five world championship titles. He also helped China win six Thomas Cup and five Sudirman Cup titles.

– Despite the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, China’s preparations for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games progressed steadily. Construction of all the competition venues and related infrastructure will be completed by the end of this year. The past few months witnessed a number of milestones, such as the launch of a global competition for the medal, torch, and apparel designs. More than 960,000 people worldwide have registered to volunteer during the Games. Beijing 2022 has signed up 38 sponsors and suppliers in total to date.

– Renovation of the Workers’ Stadium in Beijing started in early August. The stadium, which was first built in 1959, will be transformed into a professional football arena and put into use in December 2022. It was a landmark building in the Chinese capital and hosted the first National Games.

– Two guidelines were issued by the Chinese government in September and October to strengthen campus sports and ensure the health and fitness of students. China’s southwestern Yunnan province took an initiative, as it announced in October, that it would increase the ratio of PE performance in the high-school entrance exam.

– On October 20, a conference was held in Beijing on the adjustment and reform of China’s military sports, marking significant changes in the function, scale, and structure of China’s military sports teams. Those teams will no longer participate in comprehensive sports meetings or individual sports competitions on a national level.

– The 2023 AFC Asian Cup Local Organizing Committee was officially established in Beijing on October 22. China was awarded the hosting right of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup on June 4, 2019. The tournament will take place from June to July in 10 cities – Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, Chengdu, Xian, Dalian, Qingdao, Xiamen, and Suzhou.

– China aims to become a sports powerhouse by 2035 and gave strategic priority to ensuring people’s health and all-around development, according to a blueprint passed at the fifth plenary session of the 19th Communist Party of China Central Committee in October.

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