China Finland Year of Winter Sports begins
The year 2019 was designated as the China Finland Year of Winter Sports at the meeting of the Finnish and Chinese presidents in spring 2017. Finland is the first country with which China has agreed on this type of winter sports partnership. The thematic year and the preparations for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing are expected to boost Chinese interest in Finnish winter sports expertise.
According to Minister for European Affairs, Culture and Sport Sampo Terho, the thematic year presents excellent opportunities for Finland in terms of both winter sports expertise and the commercial aspects of the industry.
“Because Finland is the first country with which China has agreed on this type of winter sports partnership, this gives Finland significant visibility and a competitive advantage compared to other winter sports countries leading up to the 2022 Beijing Olympics and Paralympics. Finland has a great deal of opportunities and a lot to offer, particularly when it comes to coaching, building venues for winter sports, sports technology, manufacturing sports equipment and teaching physical education in schools,” says Minister Terho.
The thematic year is focused on four main themes: 1) training and coaching, 2) sustainable development and equality, 3) travel and tourism and 4) competitive and performance sports.
Minister Terho will travel to Beijing to attend the opening of the thematic year, which will take place on 15 January 2019. The closing of the thematic year will be held in Rovaniemi in December.
The thematic year is made up of more than 60 different events, with highlights including the Chinese New Year celebration in Helsinki in February, the “Women’s Month” of April, when Finland hosts both the Women’s World Ice Hockey Championships and the World Synchronized Skating Championships, and three events – Helsinki Education Week, the SMASH sports technology event and GoExpo Winter – taking place in November. As the “Country of Honour” at the 2019, World Winter Sports Expo in Beijing, Finland will have the opportunity to present its knowhow in various areas of winter sports.
In addition to the thematic year, Business Finland has established the Winter Sports Cluster growth programme, which aims to develop cooperation and export opportunities for Finnish businesses with an eye towards the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic games in Beijing.
High-level visits boost cooperation
The Finnish and Chinese presidents agreed on the 2019 joint year of winter sports during President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Finland in April 2017. To coordinate the arrangements for the thematic year, Finland and China established a working group in charge of the joint programme during Sampo Terho’s visit to Peking and Harbin in March 2018.
The year of winter sports is a joint initiative of various ministries, cities, the Finnish Olympic Committee, the Finnish Paralympic Committee, individual sports associations and sports institutes.
Toni Ahva, Special Adviser to the Minister (Media Interview Requests), tel. +358 295 3 30340
Tiina Kivisaari, Director (Division for Sport), Ministry of Education and Culture, tel. +358 295 3 30178