Chongqing Olympic Sports Center: from football holy land to running holy land
Citizens running on professional plastic track
The Olympic Sports Center also provides convenient storage cabinets for the public
Citizens running in the Olympic Sports Center
By registering or swiping their ID card, people can run in the Olympic Sports Center.
CHONGQING (CQNEWS) -- For most citizens of Chongqing, the first impression of Chongqing Olympic Sports Center is definitely the holy land of football — it has hosted many top football events such as the Asian Cup, the Chinese Super League, the Football Association Cup and the Chinese Football Association Super Cup. However, in recent years, more and more people have come to Chongqing Olympic Sports Center for running. On January 13 alone, more than 2,700 people went to the track and field for running. The reporter of Chongqing Evening News recently interviewed Zhang Yaowu, a famous long-distance running star in Chongqing, the founder of Chongqing Long-distance Running Association, and many running enthusiasts to learn how the Olympic Sports Center grows into a running holy land step by step.
Sixteen years ago, there were only about 10 runners
Zhang Yaowu, 65-year-old, can be said the leader of Chongqing's long-distance running. As early as the 1980s, he was active in the long-distance running competition. He has won the champion of Chongqing’s folk marathon competition for many times and is known as Chongqing’s “scud”. He is also the first batch of enthusiasts running in Chongqing Olympic Sports Center. “Just after the completion of Chongqing Olympic Sports Center in 2004, I went here for running for the first time. At that time, we could only run on the outer race track outside the stadium,” Zhang Yaowu recalled that.
There was no marathon hot in the long-distance running 16 years ago. Zhang Yaowu confessed that there were not many people coming here to exercise: “In those days, the communities near the Olympic Sports Center were not built, and the surrounding traffic was not convenient. When I came to run, I couldn’t get a car to go out. It was not convenient without a car, so there were only about 10 people running here every day.”
Chongqing Marathon brings marathon hot
When did the number of people running in the Olympic Sports Center increase? Zhang Yaowu took 2009 as an important turning point. “To be honest, long-distance running, especially marathon, is a test of willpower. It’s hard for anyone to keep up with it. So from 2006 to 2008, although there was a sports fever brought by the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the number of people running in Olympic Sports Center is still small. Until 2009, Chongqing Nanbin Road held the ten thousand people quasi marathon race (the predecessor of Chongqing Marathon), which brought the city’s marathon hot. There were more talents running in the Olympic Sports Center. The number of people running every day was about several hundred, and the people who came here were not limited to the residents near the Olympic Sports Center.”
Qi Shiping, 62, came to Olympic Sports Center from Yangjiaping. Why would he like to go all the way to Olympic Sports Center and take rail transit for exercise? Qi Shiping told that “the most important thing in the long-distance running is the atmosphere. Mr. Zhang (Zhang Yaowu) ran in the Olympic Sports Center, driving a group of people to run here, so I also came here. It’s great to exercise together every day!”
From 2009 to 2019, Chongqing Marathon has grown from an amateur regional event to a domestic gold medal event and an international gold medal event, and has been listed as one of the four domestic marathon Grand Slam events. The running enthusiasts in the Olympic Sports Center have gradually developed from individuals to groups.
Olympic Sports Center boosts running hot
Since 2014, Chongqing Olympic Sports Center has taken the lead in opening free and low-cost venues in the city, which further promotes the Olympic Sports Center running craze. Yan Yuman, a runner who came from Gaojiu Road, also felt the same: “It’s very convenient to run in Olympic Sports Center. There are lockers at the gate, four free drinking spots inside, and toilets around the track. I often joke with runners that we enjoy the treatment of professional athletes!”
It is worth mentioning that in order to further facilitate the exercise of the public, the opening time of the Olympic Sports Center has been extended since January 1 this year. A staff member of the Olympic Sports Center said that “from January 1 this year, the free opening time of every day is from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. As long as there is no major event or facility maintenance, the public can go to the inside Olympic Sports Center for running for free.”
At 16:20 on January 13, the registration screen at the entrance of the Olympic Sports Center showed real-time statistics of the number of visitors: 2,703 for today, and 1,720 currently in the venue. Yan Yuman said that “it is Monday today, many people are working. In fact, there are more people on weekends! Especially when the Olympic Sports Center Station of Loop Line is opened, more people start running here. On weekends, I often meet acquaintances. We exercise together. After exercise, we can have a party. It’s great.” (Translated by Luo Juan, Fathom Language Limited)