TIANJIN, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday called on the people to open up new development areas in sports in order to enable the country to become a world sports power as soon as possible.
President Xi made the remarks during his meeting with individuals and groups who are advancing China's sporting cause, both professionals and amateurs, as well as representatives of medal winners in sporting events for ordinary people held during the 13th National Games.
"Sports set the stage for a stronger and more prosperous country," President Xi said. "Great importance should be placed on the development of sports, with more efforts made in both the scheduling and implementation of new projects," Xi added.
During the meeting, President Xi said that great development has been realized in the area of sports during the past five years, including the rapid growth of the "Fitness-For-All" project, remarkable achievements in competitive sports on the world stage, the further deepening of sports reforms, and Beijing's successful bid for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
President Xi said the dream to become a sports power is in perfect harmony with the realization of China Dream, one that is to be implemented within the blueprint of the Two Centenaries, through sports reforms based on fresh ideas and on coordination between competitive and mass sports.
Xi emphasized that no efforts will be spared to put the focus of sports reform on the people, to meet the needs of a healthy society through the implementation of the national "Fitness-For-All" project, and added that the National Games in particular has played a very positive role in this regard by including mass sports.
President Xi also stressed China's commitment to putting on "a fantastic, extraordinary and excellent" 2022 Winter Olympic Games, and called for the development and popularization of winter sports to carry ever-greater importance in the world's most populous country.
The quadrennial National Games, billed as China's mini-Olympics, opened on Sunday evening with a grand opening ceremony attended by President Xi and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach. The Games will run until Sept. 8.