End urged to National Games bidding
Choi Chi-yuk in Beijing
A mainland political adviser recommended scrapping the bidding system for the National Games and letting six municipalities and provinces with good facilities rotate the hosting of the quadrennial sporting event.
'I propose to call a halt on the system of bidding to be the operating city of the National Games for a long period of time,' said Zhao Long, a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, during yesterday's CPPCC session.
Instead, he suggested that only provinces or municipalities with facilities in place - such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shandong and Liaoning - serve as hosts.
'Only by abolishing the bidding system for the National Games can the country return to developing its national sports programme in a healthy way,' Zhao said.
Zhao said he had come up with the idea in the light of the fact that the venues in many previous host cities now sat idle, and future bidders would simply build more new stadiums and other facilities, only to suffer the same fate.
Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong shared the first nine National Games events from 1959. In 2001, the State Council announced the end of the three-site rotation and introduced the bidding system.
Jiangsu beat out Liaoning, Zhejiang, Hubei and Shaanxi for the 10th National Games in 2005, and Shandong organised the event in 2009.
However, according to Zhao, some of the competitions in the National Games simply copied the Olympics and did not reflect the characteristics of Chinese sport.
'Apart from that, the total investment and expenditure for each games held recently came to more than 100 billion yuan [HK$118 billion], in areas ranging from grander and grander opening and closing ceremonies to higher and higher hospitality standards with regard to accommodation and spreads of food, for example, in recent years,' he said.
'But most of the general public don't make use of the sports facilities that were constructed' after the games had ended.
Thirdly, he said, the credibility of some events was diminishing, as there were suspicions of manipulation due to the close relationship between the number of medals a team got and the political prospects of that region's sports officials. There was also the issue of the large bonuses each winning athlete received.
'We should resolutely stamp out the common practice of comparison among [editions of the Games] in terms of its standards and the scale of its opening and closing ceremonies,' he said. 'We should spare no efforts to organise a low-pollution and frugal games.'
As the nation's highest-level multi-sport event, the National Games is watched live and on television by millions of people every four years.