BEIJING, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- Looking back to about three years ago, 30-year-old Russian ice hockey coach Odnoshivkin Evgenii found the biggest change taking place in recent years is that more and more children participate in his ice hockey team.
Before coming to China, Evgenii obtained a Master's degree in training from Tyumen State University. He has led several ice hockey youth teams in Russia.
In 2018, Evgenii was invited to be the coach of a youth ice hockey club in Beijing. At that time, he was amazed by how good the infrastructure and facilities are in China. Later, he was transferred to another club called Beijing Capitals Hockey Club.
Compared to his country, Evgenii realized what China lacked is the popularity of ice hockey. "In Russia, a youth ice hockey team usually includes 20 players, but in China, there are only 10 players."
However, as China put more effort to promote ice and snow sports, Evgenii saw that many more kids participated in ice hockey, even including some kindergarteners. "The earlier you participate in ice and snow sports, the more experience you will get."
In Evgenii's eyes, the healthy development of ice and snow sports is inseparable from the deep mass foundation and mature sports culture. "In Russia, people love winter sports. It's hard to find a child who can't skate. When I was 7 years old, I went to watch the ice hockey game. I saw the audience cheer for the players. I imagined that one day I would become a member of the team and enjoy the cheers and shouts of the audiences."
To Evgenii's delight, China has formed its ice hockey culture. "In recent years, some film and television dramas with ice hockey themes have appeared in China, which play a positive role in promoting ice hockey."
In the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, the Russian Olympic men's ice hockey team won the gold medal. Looking forward to the Beijing Winter Olympic Games, in addition to the Russian Olympic Committee team, Evgenii has another "home team" in his heart as he hopes "the Chinese team will also achieve good results."
Evgenii believes that the Beijing Winter Olympics will effectively promote ice hockey and other ice and snow sports in China.
Evgenii is very optimistic about the prospect of ice hockey in China. "I will pay close attention to the children of our team and rival teams. They have great potential and are expected to achieve a higher level in time."
The China-Russia Years of sports exchange will last through 2022 to 2023. Evgenii expects that people of the two countries can take this opportunity to exchange in-depth experience, improve professional skills, and make sports exchanges a bridge to enhance mutual understanding and friendship.
"I am very pleased to see that Chinese children's interest in ice hockey is increasing day by day. This is the biggest driving force for me to share knowledge and skills with them." Evgenii said. Enditem