On the Scene
A different way to play soccer
  ·  2023-01-20  ·   Source: Web Exclusive

Boasting mountainous landscapes and long snowy seasons, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in the northwest has transformed itself into a winter sports paradise. In Aksu Prefecture in southwest Xinjiang, temperatures can be as low as minus 27 degrees Celsius. Winter sports such as sledding, biking on ice and soccer on a snow-covered pitch are gaining popularity. 

The finals of the first ever snow soccer tournament in Aksu Prefecture, northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, opened on January 14. The match was an opportunity for people to enjoy the fun of both winter and this competitive team sport, Shi Jixiang, an official with Aksu’s amateur sports center, told Beijing Review. 

Unlike regular soccer games, in which two teams with a total of 22 players compete on grass, snow soccer is similar to futsal, in that both are played on smaller pitches with only five players on each team. Moreover, snow adds fun and challenges. “People enjoy snow soccer matches because they require less space and are simpler than regular ones with 11 players on each team,” Shi said. 

Six teams competed in the finals at the Aksu Stadium with finalists’ ages ranging from around 20 to 40. Teams composed of players from all over Aksu had participated in preliminary matches held since November 2022. 

(Reporting from Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region) 

Copyedited by G.P. Wilson  

Comments to yuanyuan@cicgamericas.com 


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