06 August 2023 | in Summer FISU World University Games
The Chengbei Gymnasium’s most recent renovation, shown here in 2021. (All images provides by the venue media manager)
On July 29, the first gold medal of wushu competition at the Chengdu FISU World University Games was given out in the Chengbei Gymnasium. Cao Maoyuan from China won the Nanquan event. His medal wasn’t the only thing worthy of celebration that night as it was also the first time the 42 year-old gymnasium held an international A-level standard event.
Chengbei used to be the golden symbol of sport for Chengdu residents. Built as an open-air basketball court in 1973, since 1980 it has undergone threeChengbei Gymnasium as an open air arena major renovations. Initially the court was transformed into an indoor gymnasium accommodating 6,000 spectators and became the first multi-functional gymnasium in Chengdu. The venue held numerous events such as volleyball, table tennis, basketball, and artistic performances. Sichuan people crowding into the venue was a common scene. “The old Chengbei was the core centre of Chengdu’s culture and sports,” local sports journalist Meng Wubin said.
As the building aged, maintenance and upgrades were required. Due to economic factors, the second renovation of Chengbei turned it into an electronics market in 1995. Though in a prime location, more and more people at that time came for electronics trade, and not sports.
Chengbei Gymnasium in the 1980s
From its electronics era, in the past seven years, more significant changes have occurred. The municipal government decided to return the venue to the people and to sports and with that decision, Chengbei welcomed its third renovation in 2016. Good things often come in in pairs and with the renovation, FISU determined the venue to be appropriate to host wushu events at the Chengdu FISU World University Games. On top of that, Chengdu decided to further upgrade the gymnasium from what was originally planned so it now has the capacity to host most indoor sporting events.Chengbei Electronic Mall prior to the third renovation
New solutions were also incorporated to manage traffic. “Like a sponge absorbs and releases water quickly, we want to provide people with better transportation,” said Liu Linglin, the Deputy Director of Competition Services. An 11,000 square metre permeable concrete floor has been laid, and a 2,000 square metre underground parking lot has been built.
After three renovations, the gymnasium has been changed to a flying saucer shape, paired with an orange-red facade, resembling a phoenix soaring high. In Chinese mythology, the phoenix symbolizes rebirth from the ashes, and that is certainly what Chengbei is. The first gold medal event it hosted, an emblematic milestone for Chengbei’s continued impact on Chengdu.