Work has begun on transforming Beijing’s Wukesong Sports Centre from a basketball venue into an ice hockey arena ahead of the 2022 winter Olympic Games in the Chinese capital.

The arena hosted basketball events during the summer Olympics in Beijing back in 2008. The facility has staged ice hockey events in the past but is undergoing upgrades ahead of the 2022 Games to meet winter Olympics requirements.

The ice rink size for Beijing 2022 will be reduced from 30m by 60m to 26m by 60m in a move to increase intensity levels during games.

Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that the renovation of Wukesong Arena is due to be completed by October, with test events able to be held from next April. The arena will house two convertible rinks once the upgrades are completed.

The Wukesong Arena has a capacity of 18,000. It opened in January 2008 ahead of the Beijing Olympics later that year and has since staged concerts featuring the likes of Beyonce, Eagles, Elton John and Justin Bieber.

Other venues used during the Beijing 2008 Olympics will be used during the 2022 Games, including the Birds’ Nest National Stadium, which will host the opening and closing ceremonies, and the ‘Water Cube’ aquatics centre, which will host curling events.

Image: Scazon