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Strong Base Builds Chinese Champions

Author: alexda

China has several world-class sports training facilities around the nation, many of which have helped lay the foundation for China’s Olympic success.

The following eight facilities are some of the best-known training bases in China and have produced some of the country’s most talented and decorated athletes:


Duoba, China’s best high-altitude training base and one of the best in the world, is known both as the “Cradle of World Champions” and a “Factory of Gold Medalists”.

Located in Huangzhong county on the Qingzang Plateau in China’s northwestern Qinghai province, it sits 2,365m above sea level where the annual average temperature is 6.5 C above zero. It has been the training ground for China’s national swimming team, shooting team and track and field team since the 1990s.

The Duoba training base has spawned a large arsenal of Chinese world champions and Olympic stars over the past two decades. The best known bunch is the legendary Chinese long-distance running group “Ma’s Team”, which won four gold medals, two silvers and two bronzes at the 1993 Stuttgart World Championships.

Lin Dan


Xing Huina, the 2004 Athens Games women’s 10,000m gold winner, also attributes her triumph four years ago to Duoba’s unique geological position.

Duoba used to be a military factory warehouse. In 1982, The Qinghai Sports Bureau acquired the base and transformed it into a state-of-the-art training complex. The Beijing and Qinghai governments have invested more than 2 billion yuan ($291 million) in reconstructing the facility over the past 20 years.

Other sports that train at Duoba include archery, soccer, basketball, badminton, volleyball, table tennis, judo, wrestling, and taekwondo.

Qiandao Lake

The name of Qiandao Lake, which translates to “Thousand-Islands Lake”, explains its unique charm.

The training base lies deep in the heart of the world-famous Qiandao Lake tourism resort. It is 129km from the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. The resort’s name comes from the 1,078 islands sprinkled across the area’s 573 sq km of water surface.

The water region is not a natural creation, however. It was formed by the construction of a hydropower station in 1959.

The surrounding forest keeps the region’s weather warm and humid all year long. The average temperature is a stable 17 C.

Rowing coach Zhang Guiting discovered the secluded water area. He was impressed by the tranquility of the area and its wide variation of water conditions, making it ideal for rowing and canoe training.

In 2000, the national rowing team was looking for an appropriate place to train athletes for the 2004 Athens Games. The team was informed of the training base, which the Zhejiang sports bureau had bought for 1.64 million yuan in 1999.

The General Administration of Sport invested another 50 million yuan to overhaul Qiandao Lake, adding world-class canoeing and rowing apparatuses for the team’s training.

As athletes sweat during practice, the training base’s natural beauty helps relieve some of the psychological pressure brought on by the repetitive and sometimes tedious training.

In 2004, Meng Guanliang and Yang Wenjun, both coached and trained in Qiandao Lake, won China’s first-ever Olympic canoeing gold.


For many Chinese, the image of Jinjiang, a small town in southern China’s Fujian province, is more associated with the sports footwear industry than the badminton team’s training base. The national team has trained at Jinjiang for the past six years. It was built on donations from expatriate Chinese from the town.

Jinjiang Sports Traning Base was built in 2002, a historic low point for Chinese shuttlers. China’s head coach, Li Yongbo, was desperate to get the team back in top form and came upon Jinjiang by chance. He liked the base’s existing facilities, and brought the team there for a trial training. It was the beginning of a new age for Chinese badminton.

That year’s horrifying SARS epidemic entrenched the province and trapped the entire shuttle team in the base. The original training schedule was stretched from 40 days to 100 days. Some say it was those extra days that helped transform the team – China won titles in men’s singles, women’s singles and women’s doubles at the 2003 World Championships.

The training compound is guarded round the clock in order to ensure undisrupted training for the team.

The Jingjiang facility has a secret weapon – a huge pool full of quartz sand. Shuttlers practice in the pool, battling against the drag of the sand under foot, helping improve their movement and flexibility.


Despite the disappointment of China men’s Olympics soccer team, its training base in Hongta, Yunnan province, is still considered China’s most comprehensive and well-equipped soccer training complex.

Hongta Group, which owns the Chinese cigarette brand of the same name, built and financed the training base. It was originally home to the province’s first soccer club, also named Hongta, in the 1990s, the first-ever in the history of the province in 1990s. When the club’s popularity fell, Hongta Group decided to turn it into a top-notch training base.

The base covers an area of 334,300 sq m. Hongta Croup spent a total of 690 million yuan on the construction, which was completed in 2001.

The training base borders the picturesque Dianchi Lake, one of the most famous tourism resorts in Yunnan. The base has 11 full-size outdoor soccer pitches, 11 tennis courts, and four indoor training centers for winter sports, badminton, bowling and swimming.

China’s men’s team has used the base to prepare for almost every important international tournament since 2001.

Women’s field hockey team. [Agencies]



With a price tag of 5 million yuan, the training base for China’s women’s volleyball team is the most expensive volleyball stadium built in China’s history.

Each citizen in Zhangzhou, Fujian province, donated one yuan to build the stadium, a move aimed at raising the team’s morale after its worst-ever Olympic result in Barcelona 1992.

It was the second time the people in Zhangzhou showed their steadfast support for the volleyball team – in 1972, Zhangzhou authorities mobilized local volunteers to build a “bamboo-framed stadium” for the national women’s team.

The foreign press once described the base as the “secret foundation” of the Chinese volleyball team. As time went on, the real secret of the team’s success was unveiled: the love, affection and heart-felt support of the the Zhangzhou people.

Lang Ping, the world-acclaimed Chinese spiker and head coach of the US team, once wrote: “We (the Chinese team as a whole) will forever remember the Zhangzhou people’s dedicated emotion, understanding and support!”

Apart from Zhangzhou, Beilun, in Zhejiang province, will become another home of China’s women’s volleyball team once the 127,000 sq m facility finishes construction.


The Zhengding National Table Tennis Training Base was built on the generous contributions of Wang Guangqing, the man who created the prototype of a sports training base 16 years ago.

The 70-year-old physical education teacher has seen his brainchild pump out top-level table tennis players ever since.

In August 1970, Wang was transferred to Zhengding county to work as a primary school physical education teacher. Driven by his fervent passion for table tennis, Wang organized a school-wide training team. He spent all his earnings on table tennis books, and led his players in an after-school work program, trying to raise money for training.

Wang’s perseverance paid off eight years later. His 12-member table tennis school received long-awaited support from the city’s sports authority and it became “China’s key table tennis sports school”. The success inspired Wang to turn the school into a nation-wide table tennis training base.

Phase by phase, the school evolved into a modern comprehensive table tennis training compound, providing cutting-edge equipment, facilities and training methods.

The training base is located 260km from Beijing in Hebei province. The proximity to the capital enabled the base to train the Chinese women’s team before the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. The team went on to clinch both women’s gold medals.

Since then, the 21,000 sq m training base has been designated as the official training venue for the national teams. Cai Zhenhua, former head coach of the national table tennis team, described Zhengding as “the best training base on the planet”.


When Li Ting and Sun Tiantian won China’s first-ever Olympic tennis gold, it was a turning point in Chinese sports history. The China Tennis Association subsequently designated Jiangmen, a coastal city to the west of the Pearl River Delta, the home of the national tennis training base.

It was not entirely a surprise – Jiangmen city had long boasted a tradition of tennis. The city was home to more than 80 tennis courts and tennis was the most widely played local sport.

Huayuan Hotel, where the training center is located, sits on a beautiful island. There are eight standard tennis courts used for training. Another 12 courts and a central tennis center are scheduled to be built with an investment of 15 million yuan.

Jiangmen has become a magnet for tennis fans all over China. Tennis is also the core industry of the region.

Tennis chief Sun Jinfang said the reason the administration designated Jiangmen the permanent training base for the national teams is because “there is no parallel contender to Jiangmen, which has all the desirable conditions of weather, location, equipment and local support.”

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Womens Champion Stretch

Womens Champion Stretch