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Athletes Village for the 24th Winter Universiade Opens

The Athletes’ Village for the 24th Winter Universiade in Harbin, China opened today with a small ceremony as the city gets ready for the Games.

The event's opening ceremony will be held on Feb. 18 at the Gym of Harbin International Conference, Exhibition and Sports Center. Attendance at the opening ceremony will include state officials of China, IOC officials, FISU officials, related national ministry officials, officials from Heilongjiang Province and Harbin City, officials and athletes of all delegations, VIPs, OC officials, technical officials, and the representatives of judges and sponsor enterprises.

“First, about 1,700 students from 26 universities and colleges in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao, and Chinese Taipei will be attending the opening ceremony, mainly for the cultural program," explained Meng Fanjie, vice secretary general of Harbin OC and Director General of the Major Event Department. "[The ceremony will include] the integration of multiple arts is to demonstrate China’s geographical features and spirit since the adoption of opening-up and reform policy; [also] it will give prominence to ice and snow features.”

Today, the flags of the Harbin OC and University Sports Federation of China were raised as the the 24th Winter Universiade anthem was played. Then, the flag of the International University Sports Federation and the national banner of China were hoisted accompanied by the playing of the FISU anthem.

Chen Xiaoya, vice-director of the State Education Ministry and Cheng Youdong, vice-governor of Heilongjiang Province and vice executive president of the OC, welcomed the athletes and officials at today's ceremony at the athletes' village. FISU was represented by Roger Roth, FISU chair of the International Technical Committee for the Winter Universiade, and Milan Augustin, FISU director for the Winter Universiade.

The Games include five ice sports — figure skating, speed skating, sort-track speed skating, ice hockey and curling — and seven snow sports — alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, ski jumping, Nordic combined, free style skiing, snowboarding and biathlon. There are 82 disciplines in total, the most to be staged at a Winter Universiade Games.